Today is the day

I came to New York for–an appointment with my optometrist, who helps me manage my keratoconus, a nasty eye problem that will keep me wearing contact lenses for the rest of my life, or so long as I can stand them. Mostly my problem with the lenses is the mucous or dirt my eyes produce that clouds the lenses and keeps me from seeing. I try all sorts of things to clean my eyes, but it's an uphill battle. Today,, she gave me more recommendations and instructions. All in all, a good appointment. Now, it's up to me.

This evening, before I met Renee for dinner, I found myself across the street from a Jam Paper Store, one of the places on my list. It used to be Kate's Paperie. I take it fancy papers are no longer on many people's must-have lists. I found the card stock I wanted and bought a package of 50 sheets. It was tempting to buy more, but I don't know if it will go through the printer. I forgot to mention I bought handmade paper from Nepal at the Rubin on Monday. Nice stuff, nothing extraordinary. Have to think of another book to make with it.

I spent some time at the Whitney yesterday, but except for the Lionel Feininger exhibit, not much interested me. Renee is getting ready to go to Ireland on Sunday leaving me alone here. That's both good and bad; I like her company, but I have many friends to see.

I have no excuse

I just didn't feel like writing.

My infection seems to have gone, although I won't be convinced for another week or so. My Osher classes began this week. I wasn't taking anything for the last month because I expected to be away; I'm glad the new term has begun. Tuesday morning I'm in a class called "Representing the Devil." Last week we looked at readings from both the old and new testaments. This week we are reading Christopher Marlowe's, "Dr. Faustus." We will also read "The Master and Margarita" and "No Country for Old Men." I started reading M & M and it's excellent. So is the professor; I'm very pleased.

Tuesday afternoon is a film class. We watched "Sunset Boulevard," which I saw back in 1950 or 51. I remembered absolutely nothing except the shooting scene. Amazing how completely these things disappear.

Wednesday afternoon is a journaling class. You're probably laughing. How can I keep a journal when I can't even keep up with the blog. We are supposed to write three pages a day. I wrote something yesterday, but not three pages. There are many things I don't want to put in the blog. Keeping a journal would be a good thing if I wasn't so lazy.

Thursday afternoon's class is called "Behind the scenes at the Carnegie Museum." I don't think this will be the best class. We only get behind the scenes once, the rest of the time we're in lectures. I've spent lots of time volunteering at the Field Museum in Chicago and often got behind the scenes. It was fascinating. I'm sure the Carnegie would be also. Maybe I'll look into volunteering there.

I got back to the health club. I've been walking (even did the 5k Race for the Cure last weekend) but avoided other exercise because of taking Cipro. I don't know if I'm happier with or without all the exercise. I'm certainly happier without the Cipro.

This week

Lots of things happened.

Still taking Cipro (until Tuesday). Slightly better each day, but still a problem.

I am going to move again. I didn't really plan to do this, but I've been unhappy with this apartment for some time now. After my fight with the landlord I think it's best if I get out. So I've been spending a lot of time looking, online and otherwise. There are lots of apartments for rent but not many I want or can afford.

Because of this, and because I should do it anyway, I'm trying to get rid of stuff. Last week I shredded or threw out tax returns from 1988 through 2002. I didn't even know I had them. They came with my divorce.

Last weekend I went to a benefit concert for Japan, actually the second one I've been to. This was at Pitt and included some Japanese cultural things as well as good music. This photo is from the tea ceremony.

I found it strange and interesting to have the camera man right in there with the participants while a ghostly image of the action was projected onto the screen behind. It reminded me of the Bunraku performance I saw in Osaka where the puppet masters stand directly next to the life-size puppets. All the camera man needed was a black hood around his head.

More beautiful trees from the 'burgh. These are in a somewhat run down park that was once the site of George Westinghouse's mansion.


The week that was

Last Wednesday I took the Megabus to Philadelphia. Except for the fact that there's no way to get up and walk around, it's a decent way to travel. Of course, they leave before dawn, which meant I had to get up at 4:30, but it was OK. I met Renee in Philly and we went to the Chagall exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art. Very nice. We also walked around South Street; went to the Magic Garden, Reading Market, and Eastern State Penitentiary; staying overnight to do all of this.

Finally, exhausted, we got on another Megabus and went to New York, where I went to the Japan Society to see Bye, Bye Kitty, a really good exhibit put together before the earthquake, but entirely appropriate to the circumstance, and then spent time at the Met. I can't go to New York without spending time at the Met. Also went to visit friends who have just moved into a new apartment.

Robin and Steve drove in on Saturday and we had dinner with Steve's family: Renee, Michael and Rosemary. On Sunday Renee went to Boston to have a Passover Seder with Steve's sister, Robin and Steve moved to the apartment (musical apartments) and we had our Seder with friends in Teaneck. Our friends have a mixed marriage: he's Ashkenazi; she's Sephardi. The Seder is always a blend of their traditions, making it more interesting for us.

Now comes the bad part:

We were supposed to stay until yesterday morning, but I had a problem so my kids very kindly brought me back to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Two weeks ago I had the implant inserted where my tooth had been pulled. It became infected, although I wasn't certain of it until Sunday. Monday morning I called the oral surgeon and got a perscription for an antibiotic, but it didn't seem to help. Feeling worse on Tuesday, with obvious swelling of my cheek, we drove back. Yesterday, I spent the morning back at the oral surgeon's. You don't want to know the details. I'm still swollen and not certain it's getting better. I am allergic to penicillin and tetracycline, and I've had bad side effects from levaquin. It makes it very hard for me to take antibiotics. They've been alternating between two arithromycins, but now they don't seem to be working. So I'm taking cipro, a levaquin-type, and keeping my fingers crossed.

Christmas wrap…. up

Hope everyone has a great holiday and a wonderful new year. We had our usual Shabat dinner last night, but it was extra special because good friends joined us and Charna was there. She always makes it special.

I lost the limp today and my leg seems to have regained a full range of motion. I still have some twinges so decided not to go to exercise today. Tomorrow, I promise. (I've said that for two days now.)

The paper is finished. I brought a copy for Steve to read and hope Charna will read it also. (Robin, too, if she wants) As soon as I hear from them, I'll post it. I'm happy to have it off my plate.

I've made a tentative reservation to go to Japan in March. I want to make a few changes, then I'll get the ticket.

Next up: back to the folded book.

Never complain about boredom

Last night, after writing about having nothing on the calendar, and after doing more work on the paper, I stood up from my chair and one of the muscles behind my left knee spasmed; I could barely walk. I'm still in pain and barely walking today. It's given me a lot to think about–mostly about how fast you can go from great to terrible.

I was feeling wonderful yesterday. I walked down to Squirrel Hill (about 2 miles) and still felt wonderful. Of course that my have been the cause; it was a cold walk. So, today will be the first time in months I break my exercise routine. If I can get there tomorrow, it won't be too bad.

I'm writing this in bed with my feet up, hoping some of the swelling will go down. This has never been a comfortable position for me so I'll see how long it lasts. Years ago I read a story about someone  staying in bed and working; telephone and coffeepot on a table next to the bed; small refrigerator nearby; you get the picture. Actually, this was before computers, so I guess it was just pencil and paper. It sounded good to me, but I never got there. Bed was always for sleeping or sex, nothing more.

Some days are good

Some are not. That seems to happen more and more as I get older. I heard Yo Yo Ma on Studio 360 this morning talking about his cello. He said humidity is different every day; cellos and human bodies are different every day. I really understand that.

Today is supposed to be the last great day we will have for awhile. It's truly beautiful out: sunshine, blue skies, not too warm. I've been walking for three and a half hours. First stop–health club. Since I faded out Wednesday, I've been more careful. Went again on Saturday but stopped after treadmill and rowing. I was feeling OK; just didn't feel like pushing it. Finished the workout this morning then kept walking. Took a book back to the library, went to Whole Foods for lunch, browsed in Borders, stopped for chocolate ice cream on Highland Avenue, then went to the Orchid Show in Mellon Park, finally back home. Altogether, I walked about four miles. I'm tired, my feet hurt but otherwise I'm fine. It's a great day.

Alice and Mage: I have discussed with the doctor the problem of determining how sick I am. Unfortunately, outside of collapsing or passing out, there are no black and white symptoms. So, it remains a matter of my judgment.