Cats and rats, mitts and bats



Peggy, Kurt, and Jackie
Is it more interesting to you, my reader,  for me to create subject-oriented posts, or to share what amounts to friendly letters?
 

Peggy is sick with a cough that she gets every year and that is unrelated to having a cold. We spent the summer of 1986 in Fresno, California, where, it is thought, Valley Fever caused a calcification in her lung, and that is where her cough always settles. Her internist says that nothing can be done, but I want her to see a pulmonologist when she goes on Medicare in four months because coughing several times a minute for weeks on end is a hard way to live. It’s also hard on me to listen to constant explosions and rattlings and feel helpless to do anything. In fact, I sometimes want to run from the house, and this makes me feel weak and guilty. I’m trying to get her to go in for antibiotics, but she worries about how much it will cost. Besides, Nurse Peggy is scared of doctors, and is therefore the last person go to one even when she needs to.
Today, March 1 (I’m finishing this on March 2), is my birthday. I’m 67. It’s strange to think that back in 1949, on a rare snowy morning in south Mississippi, my father was sitting in a waiting room while Dr. Bob helped my mother give me birth; and then to remember that my father has been dead 22-years, Dr. Bob for at least forty years, and my mother for 28-years. I try to picture her lying in her coffin in the cement vault that she requested, and wonder how well she’s escaping the physical deterioration that she feared. To me, nothing could be worse than to NOT deteriorate. I found her request about the vault offensive because it meant denying the earth its due, and for what?—to preserve a corpse that’s going to eventually rot anyway.

My father said he didn’t care what happened to his remains, so I had him cremated. I figured I would spread him somewhere, but didn’t know where, so he spent years in the hall linen closet all snug in the cardboard container that the crematory mailed him in. I happened to mention this to Peggy’s parents when they were here for a visit, and her mother became very upset that I cared so little for my father that I didn’t keep his remains in an honored place in an expensive container. She didn’t know or care that, had he been able, my father would have jumped down my throat if I spent money on an urn, or that he would have considered the hall linen closet homey. Peggy and Walt and I finally took him to the coast, thinking to leave him on Cape Perpetua, which is a mountain overlooking the Pacific. We got him up there, but the place just didn’t feel right somehow. We had no backup plan, so we took him walking along the beach (the beach being mostly sharp, uneven, and jagged basalt), hoping to find a place that felt right. The day was windy and overcast, but just as we got to a volcanic chute called “The Devil’s Churn” (a place where the breakers explode back upon one another with enormous noise, spray, and violence after being funneled between walls of basalt), the wind stopped, the sun came out, and the place and moment seemed perfect, so that’s where I left my father, scooping him from the box with my bare hands, bone fragments and all. My mother-in-law would have been way upset by where we left him, so I never told her. Other people haven’t thought much of it either. You don’t expect criticism about where you scatter your father’s ashes, but people looked at me like I must have held him in such contempt that I had become unhinged, so I stopped telling them.

(Father) Brent came to see me last week. I had no agenda, and he had no agenda, so we simply talked for an hour. It took months to arrange this visit—which he suggested—because he stays so busy, and because he had to cancel at the last minute on one occasion, which isn’t unusual for him, and which I don’t mind. I asked him if it’s possible for an introvert to be a priest, and he said probably not. I then offered that I had once imagined that extroverts were more open with their feelings, but it finally dawned on me that they simply talk more, and that introverts are often better able to be emotionally present. I made it clear that I included him in this assessment, and he readily agreed. We all have our limitations, and keeping people at a distance is his, but he’s still a good man. I don’t know him well enough to say I love him, but I do respect him. I also worry about him, because being unable to know what’s really going on for him makes me fear the worst. I very much wish that he and I could be friends, but he lacks the time, and I have no idea if he has the desire. Not only does he have his priestly job, he raises chickens for sale, and kills them himself. This bothers me not a little, but there’s no point in bringing it up. No doubt, his chickens have better lives than factory chickens, but they still end up with their throats cut in ISIS fashion.

Peggy’s father, Earl, is another man who is emotionally distant. Even his daughters don’t feel that they really know him because he turns aside any questions of a personal nature. After Peggy’s mother died, I asked a neighbor of his to look in on him from to time, and the neighbor refused, saying, “Well, you know how he is.” I never worry about Earl, though, like I do about Brent because Earl is a tower of emotional strength and is nearly always in a good mood. He just turned 86 and is very much in possession of his “faculties,” as the saying goes.

Jackie and Kurt are coming for dinner tonight. They’re the only local friends I have left, the others having grown gradually more distant without me doing much to prevent it. My former best friend, Walt, very much wanted me to get a cellphone so  we could text, texting being his primary means of communication. I could look out the window right now and probably see two or three people walking, biking, or skateboarding, past the house while texting. Yesterday, while leaving Costco, I saw three people texting between the cash register and the door. Peggy and two friends have gone away together for a three-day weekend every year for decades, only now Peggy complains that they’re texting every minute they’re not talking to one another, and this discourages her from trying to make conversation because she feels like she would be interrupting. There’s an addictive quality about these goddamn cellphones, and when Walt said that I needed to either get one or our friendship would suffer, it was like hearing a recent convert say that our friendship depended upon me going to church with him. I not only don’t want to text, I despise the very thought of being one of these people who walk—or worse yet, drive—the street with their thumbs on their little “devices.” There’s something unmanly about these things.

It’s easier being friends with cats if only because they don’t have cellphones. I very much miss having local friends in my life, but I take my Internet friendships seriously, and when one of those friends is hurting, I can but wish that geographical distance didn’t make it impossible for me to give them something more than emotional support… My expectations of what other people can and will offer is so low that I look upon finding a friend as like finding a needle in a haystack. Still, I’m friendly to everyone, often strike-up conversations with strangers, and even look for ways to be helpful to others, if only by opening a door or drawing them out if they seem unhappy. I’m not the kind of a recluse that is unapproachable, but simply the kind that has low expectations.

Besides, I love my cats. I have concluded that Ollie is the most beautiful and wonderful cat in the world, and that the Egyptians would have had a cult—complete with priests and temples—just for him. I love his personality, his playfulness, his sweetness, and his extraordinary beauty. I mean, what’s not to love! I’ve mentioned that I no longer feel much attracted to women, and, oddly enough, I guess, this makes me more physically attracted to all manner of other things. It’s not that I want to have sex with cats and daffodils (my favorite flower), but that while I used to appreciate such things in my head, I have come to feel admiration within my body. It’s an extraordinary experience after having lived for all those decades fixated on the beauty of women. Now, in all honesty, women aren’t even near the top of things that I find beautiful, and there’s a feeling of emptiness when I try to recapture the passion that I once felt for them. You might wonder if this doesn’t make me feel less of a man. No, it makes me feel more of a man because I’m no longer a slave to how women regard me. Whether a woman is old or young, beautiful or homely, I don’t care, so I make no greater effort to win the favor of the one than of the other. They’ve lost their goddess stature to me, and this has enabled me to know viscerally—as opposed to intellectually—that they’re on the road to rot as surely as anything else. For those many years, I thought that their beauty gave them power and protection if not immorality, and now all such feelings are gone.

Oh, but I miss having dogs. Still, cats are good too. Peggy won’t even go with me anymore to a pet store or a rescue shelter because she knows I’ll fall in love with some cat, and get all bummed when she won’t let me bring it home. She’s afraid I’ll turn out like her sister who has nine cats, bitches about them all the time, says she’s just waiting for them to die so she can have a better life, and then calls to announce that she has taken in yet another cat. Pam’s cats are different from mine though in that they hate themselves, one another, human beings, and the world at large. I think this is because Pam doesn’t spend time with them, and because her idea of disciplining—whether cats or children—is to yell at them continually in her naturally loud voice.


I just bought my third letter by Margaret Deland. They’re all handwritten, but here is the text of the latest (Newbury St is in Boston):

My dear Mrs Raymond—

        Thank you for your letter. To feel that in your own personal sadness, you were willing to to come here to help lessen somebody elses sadness, is a real comfort to me; indeed any such expression of unselfish courage makes for the bettering and brightening of the world. I write this because I want you to know that I appreciate your coming to the Jonquil Sale. In spite of the weather, it went off pretty well, thanks to the kind people who like jonquils; — but the needs of the poor sick lady for whom I had the sale are so especially pressing this year, that I was sorry I did not have the help of sunshine.

Thank you for coming, and for your letter—

            Sincerely-
                Margaret Deland

Sunday-
    35 Newbury St—



I did better than expected on my birthday, my best gift coming from Kurt and Jackie who gave me a card on which Kurt had written: “Happy birthday to our dearest friend.”

Sometimes, I feel like no one cares—except for my Internet friends—and then I get something like that, along with a visit and a bouquet from Shirley, a check from Earl, and several cards and letters from other friends. I can’t understand people, so all I know to do is to be, as much as possible, kind to them because nothing else brings either them or me anything of good. The negativity that I share with you is not the face that I show to the world—except on my worst days. I have discovered that’s there’s no greater blessing in life than to treat people well without any expectation that they reciprocate. Of course, they usually do, but when they don’t, I can but hope that my attempt at friendliness nevertheless made their lives better. Thus, I try in my humble way to be a vessel of blessings, and you, my readers, help me with this. I fully trust that a great many of you care deeply about me, very much want to know my thoughts and feelings, and will continue to be my friends even when you disapprove of something I said. I’ve known some of you for at least eight years and maybe ten. Others have left me during that time, some due to anger, some to a loss of interest in me in particular or in blogging in general, and others to death, but we who remain continue to bring sunshine into one another’s lives to the best of our often limited ability. I would grieve the loss of many of you no less for having never laid eyes on you, because no one whose face I have seen could be nearer to my heart. That physical yet non-sexual passion that I hold within my body for the things that I love is yours. It’s as if you’re a magnet, and I’m being drawn into you. I tingle and feel warm just knowing that you’re alive, and to reflect upon what a treat it is to have friends in Nigeria, England, Canada, India, Australia, and, of course, America! It is through you that I see the world, and through you that my sympathy for people who live in faraway places exists in a very real way, a way that it wouldn’t otherwise exist at all.

27 comments:

Helen said...

Your post just popped up, I'm leaving a quick comment now and will return for a good long read! (I am knee deep in rehearsals for a community theater production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike)~ I enjoy a combination of folksy posts and hard-hitting commentary. Talk to you later, my Oregon friend.

Winifred said...

I really enjoyed this post Snow. A belated Happy Birthday to you & wishing you many more to come.

That's a worry about Peggy's cough I've never heard of Valley Fever sounds nasty. Certainly needs some investigation if it's still having an effect all these years later.

I know what you mean about mobile phones. It seems as though lots of people are slaves to them especially young people. They cross the road talking on the phone & never look. People are often so bad mannered they will answer the phone whilst you're talking to them & ignore you. I laugh at my grandson when his beeps with a message & he immediately answers it. I ask was he expecting to get a message saying he'd won the lottery or something. I keep telling him he's addicted! I have one but I control it, it doesn't control me. They're great in emergencies, well that's if you can find them, remember to charge them or to take them with you.

I love that photo of Peggy & your friends. Is that a real lampshade? It's very impressive.

Stephen Hayes said...

Interesting to hear that you are no longer affected by the beauty of women but still appreciate the beauty of a cat. There's something in this but I'm not sure what it is. I know my own appreciation for things is changing, much like yours. Take care.

Tom Sightings said...

Happy birthday, and welcome to 67. I've been there for a few months now, and it's not so bad. Anyway, I appreciate the ability to text, b/c it's about the only way I can communicate with my kids, but so far at least I've managed to avoid the addiction. I think that's due to my ... maturity.

Anonymous said...

Lots to think about. The lamp is from The Christmas Story? I folllow a fellow Blipper on Blipfoto, and she just wrote a short piece about her area, Wales, and cremation. You might find it interesting.
https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2151071425455196260
Kris

Elephant's Child said...

I do like your letter posts. They feel like an invitation to sit and have a cuppa and a chat with you, and the subjects range around just as they do in the very best conversations with friends.
There is so much in this post that I can't comment on it all: Off the top of my head, I hope you can get Peggy to see someone about that cough.
My father's cremains are fertilising the rose garden at the crematorium. As are my mother's. Father was intensely practical and I am pretty certain he would approve. At the time none of my brothers were prepared to have him in their garden, and I expected to move.
And a very happy belated birthday to you. With love.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Happy Birthday! Do your readers prefer a folksy letter or an op-ed post? This reader appreciated learning about how you think and loved this post though it seemed a bit of both.

I believe the younger folks are even more hooked on these devices than us. I am afraid my daughter, who was a teenage mom, spends much more time staring at the phone than tending to her daughter. My other daughter has set strict limits on 'screen time'. Her sons are begging for more. Yet I do appreciate the convenience of texting but I do not use it to replace human interactions.

My husband has a constant cough, which is hard to ignore when I am trying to sleep. He has a bad case of gastric reflux, which he does take drugs for but it has damaged his throat causing the cough. As Peggy seems to get her cough in the winter, could the dry air be aggravating it?

Introvert or extrovert? I assume your willingness to talk to strangers makes you the latter though you hint you are the former. I do engage strangers into conversations which my husband and older daughter find strange. This is something that they would never do. I read somewhere that the difference between an extrovert and an introvert is how comfortable they feel in the presence of others. Introverts need plenty of alone time. I need to respect this in my husband. We often don't communicate until evening.

I appreciate your thought-filled post on reaching out and friendship.

Kathy said...

I see nothing disrespectful in how you handled your dad's ashes. I told my husband I want to be cremated and my ashes tossed off the side of a mountain in Colorado. I have a grown daughter who is always checking her phone for emails or texts. Even when we are talking to each other. I find it disrespectful and don't understand the need to be constantly "plugged in". I can understand how addictive it can be since I have to check my inbox and favorite blogs at least once a day. I just don't do those activities while having a conversation with someone. We have two cats and as empty nesters it's scary how attached we have become to them. There are only a few blogs I have visited in which I felt an affinity with the author. Yours is one of them. I enjoy your friendly letter format equally as well as the subject-oriented ones.

BBC said...

I don't read posts this long, especially when the text is so small.

Is that weird looking leg thing a propane heater? They appear to be warming themselves at it.

Snowbrush said...

"I don't read posts this long, especially when the text is so small."

I need advice about the font-size issue. Blogger lets me choose between medium and large fonts and this font is medium. Due an old complaint by Lotta Joy, I went to large fonts, but to me they looked WAY large, so I went back to medium. Now, I need to hear from different people what they prefer, so I'm going to make this post "large," and leave the last post "medium." So, as many of you who will, tell me which you prefer.

I had thought that people could simply zoom or out, but no one wants to do that; they instead want me to get the font so that it looks just right on their computer, and I don't know what to do but to please the most people possible.

As for the length issue, I know what you mean, but all I can think to say is that I support you in not reading posts that aren't worth your time, whatever the reason.

angela said...

Happy belated birthday. I know exactly how you feel about people and cats. I don't know if generally People are stupid or just ignorant they are rude and selfish and again. I don't know if it's always been this way or a new thing. Meanwhile cats are loving and accepting and best of all if you don't feel like company are happy to go be by themselves as well. Maybe I'm getting old too. Who knows lol

BBC said...

Posts at Blogger seems to very for everyone, maybe it depends on the browser they are using, or how they have Blogger set up. Anyway my text post options on my work area are, smallest, small, normal, large and largest. My posts generally use the large font, it is easier for some of my readers to see. I'm using the Chrome browser, it doesn't give me the option of zooming in or out.

Back when I did write longer posts I often broke them up into two or three shorter posts. I do watch some long Utube videos but that is different than reading a long post.

lotta joy said...

I'm a conundrum even to myself. I want a friend so badly it's like a disease that eats at me. BUT, friends take time and have requirements that I'm not interested in investing in. I made one friend in six years here, and she took so much of my time doing first "this" favor, and "that" favor for her that I finally said "I just wanted to be a friend - not a convenience." Friendships have always proven to be more like a lever, with more weight on one side than the other.

I'm extremely introspective, isolated, and introverted - and others like me are at home, the same as I am. Therefore, the only people I'm bound to meet IF I LEAVE THE HOUSE, are extroverts.

My BEST FRIEND whom I loved and tried to help her out and meet her needs occasionally, I never met. Ten years and we were hinged at the hip and her input made my life complete. She died over a year ago and I still grieve.

A young couple passed within inches of me at the grocery store. I had to halt suddenly or run into them for they had their noses BURIED in 9 inch tablets, texting away while shopping. They didn't even watch where their feet carried them. Couples don't talk to each other, parents don't speak to their children, and this entire generation will suffer from "widow humps" from constantly bending their necks downward like old dowagers.

I dread losing Beau for, at our age, it hurts knowing we will never have another furchild to love and be loved by. It would be cruel to leave one behind, due to our deaths. Which brings up another worry. If Joe and I would die on the highway together, NO ONE would know we were dead, therefore, Beau would starve to death. If we die in the house, no one would know until the weight of the vultures on the roof would cause a collapse, and Beau would starve to death.

ALL people down here are emotionally vacant and wouldn't lift a finger to aid a poor animal.

Gee. Did I cheer anyone up?

E. Rosewater said...

My dad's ashes are sealed in a large royal doulton character jug and I talk to my almost every day. It makes people think I'm crazy but that's a good thing. Crazy people get cut a lot of slack.

I think the gold standard of dealing with ashes is the big lebowski. When Walter tossed donny's ashes into the air and the wind blew them into the dude's face i laughed myself silly.

if you're feeling sad a blue, spark a bud and cue up the big lebowski.

Helen said...

Happy belated birthday! Interesting observation regarding the birth sign Pisces ~~~ "At the end of the day, Pisces, you need your friends and they need you." Not that I embrace astrology and horoscopes mind you. How you came to scatter your father's ashes was inspired, my Mother's rest in a hand painted ceramic cookie jar son #1 gave me years ago ... I glance at the jar every day reminded of my mom and how much I loved her. We also scattered her ashes over the graves of my father and step-father. Regarding the aging process and sexual attraction ... I attended an Oscar Red Carpet party last Sunday (seven women ranging in age from late 50s to my age 74) fascinating how we glommed onto the image of a silver haired, distinguished, unbelievably gorgeous gentleman roaming about behind the Hollywood A-listers ~ each of us indulging in our private fantasies ~~ libidos intact! Eye Candy ~ oh my. Take care of Peggy and yourself, enjoy Spring. Flowers are beginning to poke up through the earth here and trees are beginning to bud. Though I cannot imagine we won't have more snow.
Love,
Helen

Snowbrush said...

I’m answering comments out of order, so don’t feel forgotten.

“Crazy people get cut a lot of slack.”

Yes, this is true. I think that if I’m ever threatened by some mean-ass bully, probably the best defense would be talk to myself while playing with my titty and peeing. Maybe I could even whip out my big one and masturbate while singing “To Climb Every Mountain.” No, how about I just cry while inquiring, “Are you my Daddy? I love you, Daddy. Why did you leave Mommy? Will you play with my wee-weers again, Daddy?”

“When Walter tossed donny's ashes into the air and the wind blew them into the dude's face i laughed myself silly.”

To be so sweet, so brave, so sensitive, and so prone to tears of affection, yet to also be so unutterably stupid and incompetent is too precious for measure. For those who don’t know, we’re talking about the movie “The Big Lebowski,” which should be required viewing the whole world over. The “ashes scene” was was even better than the tough-guy scene in which he jumped out of the jeep and rolled, only he didn’t so much roll as to go thud. You’ve made me want to buy that movie, so thanks for making me think of it.

“Regarding the aging process and sexual attraction …”

Narcotics and Lexapro would be enough all by themselves, but whatever the cause, I’ m glad for it.

“"At the end of the day, Pisces, you need your friends and they need you." Not that I embrace astrology and horoscopes mind you.”

I’m appropriately minded, and I’m glad you said as much because this is an atheist blog after all, and so it behooves us to hold all superstition at bay, except for maybe Nessie, and the Abdominal Sahara Man, and the naked space women who live in my attic and talk dirty to me through my aluminum helmet every night. My mother used to buy those Dell horoscope books and read them to me, but, so far as I know, she didn’t care about the forecasts so much as the analysis, and mine did fit me very nicely. She said that the reason she and I had our problems was that she was a Virgo, and Virgos and Pisces don’t mix.

“I attended an Oscar Red Carpet party last Sunday (seven women ranging in age from late 50s to my age 74) fascinating how we glommed onto the image of a silver haired, distinguished, unbelievably gorgeous gentleman”

I’ve got look up what Schopenhauer wrote about the changes brought about by age regarding who he found attractive. I know that in thinking less of women, I do think more of men as creatures of beauty that I would be happy to cuddle with, this with little regard to how they actually look. But is this then sexual? No, not in the sense of wanting to kiss, have intercourse, touch in certain ways, but more is the sense of cuddling anything. Certainly when I cuddle my cat, I’m very aware of, and attracted to, the cat’s body, but it’s a far different feeling than to be attracted to specific parts of a woman with such passion that my body feels if it could explode. To want to be physically close without slobbering is far better than to want to be physically close with slobbering.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

A www Snow, how have I missed your birthdate being so close to mine? I'm March 3rd...sadly, I spent this years birthday with norovirus...worst one ever! I hope yours was grand!

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello,

Very interesting thoughts on many points which others will hesitate to write about.

My parents were buried in the same grave and we have built a lovely marble tomb over it with their date of birth and death. We go there at least once a year, clean it, place flowers over it, light candles and pray.

I think your thoughts on women is normal. There is a time for everything. You might be interested in the following quote.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:


a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes

kylie said...

I'm reasonably certain you could customise your font size but I cant test it out because I cant access the older style blog and play around with it.

maybe you can find it on your test blog?

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana wants to be cremated. I'm leaning that way myself. though it probably depends mostly on what my son wants.

BBC said...

If push came to shove I could copy/paste the text into a word document and then make the text any size I wanted to.

Michael Valentine Smith said...

From my very limited experience, Priests always have an agenda. The cunning priests are very good at hiding their agenda but somewhere deep inside old Brent is plotting how to please his master.

But what's good for the goose is good for the gander. I never let a priest know what is my true agenda, but one day when the Pope is out recruiting heathens in the jungle, I will reveal my plans.

Snowbrush said...

“Interesting to hear that you are no longer affected by the beauty of women but still appreciate the beauty of a cat. There's something in this but I'm not sure what it is.”

Catophilia or persistent felineiophiliwillia maybe? It’s not that I’m oblivious to women, but that they’ve been demoted from goddesses to people, and not even interesting people on the basis of looks alone. The whole thing—the wanting, the pursuing, the troubles with Peggy, the hurt for everyone when the relationship crashes (as they all did), just aren’t worth it. “
Winning” a woman has come to seem like crossing the Sahara for a taste of chocolate; no matter how good that chocolate might be, it’s never THAT good.

“I enjoy a combination of folksy posts and hard-hitting commentary.”

“hard-hitting commentary? Whoa! I picture a fight scene from Batman in which the action is both seen and read.

“Talk to you later, my Oregon friend.”

Likewise to you, my Oregon friend, that is if God is willing, the creeks don’t rise, the earth don’t fall out of its orbit, and the stock market don’t crash, all at the same time. How does the font size of this post versus the last one suit you? I really want to know.

“I think your thoughts on women is normal.”

Damn! Perversion is ever so much more fun. Just look at all those Old Testament guys.

“You might be interested in the following quote.”

You knew that I would know this, right? I once wrote a research paper on Ecclesiastes, and it remains my favorite part of the Bible because I think it is by far the most unvarnished truest part. Do you recall the song by Kansas? You are henceforth required to promise me that you will listen to it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKtIAzU2aGE). Wanting to be more than “dust in the wind” is what you seek from religion, and it is what I wish I could find there as well.

Valley fever is a fungal infection caused by coccidioides (kok-sid-e-OY-deze) organisms. It can cause fever, chest pain and coughing, among other signs and symptoms.

“‘I've never heard of Valley Fever sounds nasty.”

The following is from Mayo Clinic: “Two species of coccidioides fungi cause valley fever. These fungi are commonly found in soil in specific regions. The fungi's spores can be stirred into the air by anything that disrupts the soil, such as farming, construction and wind…If you don't become ill from valley fever, you may only find out you've been infected when you later have a positive skin or blood test or when small areas of residual infection (nodules) in the lungs show up on a routine chest X-ray.”

The last sentence portrays what happened to Peggy, and it is in this nodule that her problems reside and linger.

“so far at least I've managed to avoid the addiction. I think that's due to my ... maturity.”

Maturity helps almost everything.

“The lamp is from The Christmas Story?”

Well, a replica, I’m sure. It was a good movie. I still watch it almost every Xmas.

“You might find it interesting.
https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2151071425455196260”

I promise to read it.

Sparkling Red said...

That was a lovely post! I enjoy your friendly letters. I am also interested in your philosophical posts, despite the fact that sometimes they go to some pretty dark places. The unexamined life is not worth living, yes?

I would certainly not expect you to be criticized for your choice of how to care for your father's ashes. That's something that should be kept strictly within the family, and is none of anyone else's business, in my opinion. There are certain people who would definitely prefer to be scattered into a wild ocean over being cooped up in a fancy-pants urn on a mantel. I'm one of them.

rhymeswithplague said...

I prefer the folksy newsletter to the polemic, the diatribe, the rant, because how else would we ever have learned what you sing while you masturbate? Conservatives prefer The Battle Hymn if the Republic (I'm kidding, I'm kidding).

Snowbrush said...

“I read somewhere that the difference between an extrovert and an introvert is how comfortable they feel in the presence of others.”

After awhile, I feel the need to get away, but I’m not unusually uncomfortable around people if I can honor my limit. It’s only when I feel trapped that I become increasingly uncomfortable. Shyness isn’t the same as introversion, and I’ve been both. The shyness is gone, but the introversion remains. Introverts “recharge” alone, while extroverts gain energy from socializing.

Peggy does too, and takes Prilosec for it. The Prilosec helps immensely, but now it’s said to cause kidney failure and senility. I’m trying to get her to changer her diet in order to hopefully treat the problem that way, but she’s devoted to some of the things that she shouldn’t be eating most notably tomato products.

“We have two cats and as empty nesters it's scary how attached we have become to them.”

I know. Us too. Cats are funny in that they can act as if they just want to be alone (for example, they will sometimes walk away when we try to pet them), but then if we shut them out of whatever room one of us in in, they go crazy. They also destroy things when we go away for a day. It’s not that they don’t need us, but that everything, every time has to be on their terms. I feel an extreme rapport with dogs that I don’t think I’ll ever have with cats, but this also makes cats more interesting.

“I don't know if generally People are stupid or just ignorant they are rude and selfish and again.”

We’re apes, and it would be wrong to expect much of apes. Still, I can never stop wondering if my cats wouldn’t kill me if I suddenly got small, or they suddenly got big. I would guess that their hunter instinct would overcome their affection.

“ If Joe and I would die on the highway together, NO ONE would know we were dead, therefore, Beau would starve to death. If we die in the house, no one would know until the weight of the vultures on the roof would cause a collapse, and Beau would starve to death.”

Maybe you should have an agreement with a blogger friend to let him know when you leave and when you’re coming back, and that person could call the cops if he didn’t hear from you, and let them know something was wrong. I could do this for you. I worry a little about the same thing. In my case, Peggy and I go to the wildness, and we ran off a cliff, it could be years before anybody even knew what happened to us.

“I'm not sure that this narrow summit, a popular destination for a Sunday leg-stretch, makes an ideal spot for disposal, especially as the winds can be unpredictable here.”

“if you're feeling sad a blue, spark a bud and cue up the big lebowski.”

You’re the second person to mention the movie. I had to give up bud because it was making me first manic, and then severely depressed. I already take three prescription mind-altering drugs (Lexapro, narcotics, and Neurontin) plus sleeping pills, and that’s about enough.

Snowbrush said...

“…Priests always have an agenda…somewhere deep inside old Brent is plotting how to please his master.”

We ALL have an agenda in the broad sense, and OF COURSE Brent seeks to please God, but is he manipulating me? No, he doesn’t have it in him (if he sold insurance, I think he would starve). I believe with all my heart that Brent is simply trying to support me in the best way he knows how. He has already suggested that we get together again in the Spring (which is early bloom here), and I’m happy to do that. He knows that I’m not going to “profess Jesus,” and he knows that I’m not a person of wealth or influence, so there’s no gain for him except inasmuch as he believes that God wants him to “minister” to all people, where they are. I've known him for two or three years, and the only times the subject of religion has come up, I have instigated it, and never one has he offered to pray for me. He, like Rhymes and Kylie and Joseph are a big help to me in that they put a positive face on their religion because I’m only too aware of its negative aspects.

“I could copy/paste the text into a word document and then make the text any size I wanted to.”

I can too, but I can make it a 14 font, put it into the blog, and you’ll say it’s too small.

“ Lana wants to be cremated. I'm leaning that way myself. though it probably depends mostly on what my son wants.”

When Peggy told her father she wanted to be cremated, he said, “Over my dead body!” It’s one of the few times that I’ve heard him make a strong statement, and it gave the idea that I should have her cremated before he could get up here. Of course, odds are that she’ll outlive him by two or three decades.

“There are certain people who would definitely prefer to be scattered into a wild ocean…”

And just think who you might run into—Richard Boone, my father…Peggy took a little of my father’s remains and scattered them in the Mississippi cemetery where my mother is buried. The trouble with doing with him as we did is that there is no physical place where I can locate him as I could if he were in a cemetery. Sometimes, I wish I still had him in my closet.

“how else would we ever have learned what you sing while you masturbate? Conservatives prefer The Battle Hymn if the Republic (I'm kidding, I'm kidding).”

Maybe I should be singing Kumbaya. Then again, probably not.

“she just wrote a short piece about her area, Wales, and cremation. You might find it interesting”

I did, and I tried to comment, but would have had to set up an account to do so. Fourteen pages of accounts is about enough, so I declined.

“I hope you can get Peggy to see someone about that cough.”

She did, and was given steroids, antibiotics, and an inhaler. She’s slowly getting better.

“My husband has a constant cough, which is hard to ignore when I am trying to sleep. He has a bad case of gastric reflux…”