Saturday, December 28, 2013

I hab a code

Every time I get a cold, and its an annual thing with me, there will be one night when I can't sleep.  They could put me in a sensory deprivation tank (but with the tinnitus in my ears? - nah), pump me full of even more drugs, use either ether or laughing gas or whatever they want to do and my eyes would be wide open and what is left of my mind will while away the hours picking fantasy baseball teams, or rewriting movies, or bring about world peace as soon as I become master of the world, which I can make great headway on tonight since I'm awake and every else is asleep, including you.

The drugs I take do make me do what to some may seem odd things.  Case in point today my wife went to the local fitness place to work out and we agreed that I would meet her for breakfast after when she called to tell me she was ready.  That's what I understood.  I was wrong.  I was supposed to meet her at 10 AM.  Well, this was a disaster, said the iceberg to the ship.  My wife waited for me to appear while I waited for her to call me to tell me to appear.  And she had forgotten her phone.  Eventually she came home to see me sitting in the kitchen waiting for her call.  This made for an uncomfortable few hours.  I don't think as well as I used to.  We did agree to get some cheap Tracphones to keep in our cars so that we can always call, even if we forget our regular phones.  Of course we could also accidentally drag the car phones into the house, and then forget them as well.

So we will negotiate on making sticky notes as reminders.  I sometimes get annoyed at these reminders as they are notices that the sharp blade I once was is dulling at a rapid rate, and scraping me against a wet rock will only make me feel worse and sore.

You know, you start thinking about this stuff when you're there with all the other sick people at a doctor's office, and they call you in and set up an EKG and you don't register anything on the meters so they have to keep ripping the chest hair to move the nodes, and press them hard to get any reading.   I've been fortunate that the heart and lungs look good, while everything else falls apart.  It's like having a Hemi engine in a Yugo body.

Keeping me company this morning is the greatest hits of the sixties on iTunes. To my left is a manger scene next to a bowl of gold ornaments.  Right now one of the Wise Men has fallen over, Joseph is using his staff to hail a cab, another Wise Man is holding a bottle of Frankincense or Myrrh right over the Baby's head.  Mary has her arms up in surprise, or me thinks that on that First Night, a lot of people said "Ta-da!"  Which if it was the Miracle attested to, I think Someone Higher Up the God chain should take a bow, and not just with a star. Huge pointing arrows. Miles and miles high, pointing down.  "Look, he's right there! Yeah! Go see him! He'll talk about love and peace, and being nice to each other. Bethlehem, right there (I know there are two Bethlehems near Jerusalem. What, you did that part. Figure it out) Listen to him, but I know you'll eventually kill him.  That's what you do.  Oh, and sorry all the baby boys got killed by Herod's men while they hunted for That Baby.  Then again, why make this so easy for Herod. I'll just keep the Star.  Make a a good ornament."

Been quite the year with the return to my home town (at least a visitor's pass) and welcomes from school friends and town notables. I keep writing stories, feeling drab, but doing as much as I can in between daily reboots around three PM every day.  We even attended a few parties, and had a sumptuous Christmas dinner at a local French restaurant.  Nice.


I fully admit the youngsters are not at their best in this shot, but Jackie and I look fine.  On January 1, I'll be in my fifth year battling MS.  I can still dance.

Thanks to you for reading whatever you did read.  Hope you get some enjoyment out of it.  Here's to a peaceful and happy 2014 for all.

Now I just want to stop my nose from running.



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013! Murder at the Party!

One of the first lessons you get rammed in your head for both MS and/or  BP is that you will forget things. You will forget why you went into one room not five seconds after leaving the original. I have also forgotten where I hid my wife's presents. It's a small house but I can't be this bad.  Yet, there it is. Or isn't.  So for some solace, here's the Bubble Santa:


We had a party in my writing room, and the usual suspects all came.


What's a party without a Cylon,  a Smurf, a snowman in a box, and General Grievous from Star Wars, all being hosted by my teacher Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (he declined to come, but meditated on the whole thing) in the frame back there.

But you know you can't put these folks at the same party, and get that egg nog going (not that the Cylon or the General had any - weren't sure where to pour the liquid) but once Writer Smurf hit the nog, he started mouthing off about how Obi-Wan Kenobi was going to clean his (the General's) clock.    Well, you can guess what happen.


And then....


Tragic, but really you don't take on a Sith with a feather.  Fortunately, Captain Pike from Star Trek was in the area monitoring communications, and saw the whole thing.


We think the Cylon may have ratted out Grievous...guess they have a history.

Next year I'll try and be a little more circumspect about the guest list.  For this Christmas, I feel like crap, but my family was here, and we'll have Christmas Dinner tomorrow at a local restaurant (not Chinese). So what's to complain about?

I hope that 2014 is one of health and happiness for all.  It won't be for me, so I've ruined it already, but I am glad to open my eyes each day. I am blessed.  But to be safe, I'm going to stay up and see if Santa can find those presents.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tom Seaver, The Christmas Season, Elmo and Buzz Lightyear, and NYC.

Actually, this is more of a love note.

Jackie and I were in New York City a few days ago to take in the feel of the city at Christmas.  We did all the usual things - Rockefeller Center, saw the Tree with required picture, Saks' windows, St. Patrick's church (where God has a small apartment, but He's on Mercury now getting some sun while the church is renovated), great meal, and then I could not take it anymore - Stop Badgering Me.  OK, maybe it was my own fault. I wore my Mets heavy jacket and cap.  It's warm with tons of pockets, and the cap fits on my head.  Normally I just wear a baseball cap, and generic but matching coat. But this time I got it full blast.

If you haven't been to Manhattan recently, you'll notice that its slightly more aggressive in its marketing. Nearly every street has some huckster(s) trying to get the gullible couple(s) into a bar, bus, and if you are wearing something slightly noticeable like I had, you would be asked to stop and talk about the Mets (Hey, you, from Queens! Come on in! Mets got Grandy! Ask you a question [this type of marketing is in every mall - its the courtesy in us to that makes us stop, with the obligation to buy], and hey, man get your picture with Mickey Mouse (for tips - stick them in Mickey's pouch), even if it's the slightly psychotic Mickey coming down from a heroin fix.  And these two:


who should be even more terrified of the UPS truck heading for them.  What can Brown do for you?

Then there are the beggars asking you for money, and the Salvation Army group has found the funk:


And when you are not being asked for money, you must take flyers to a going out of business sale, spread the teachings of (Someone Here), go to a gentlemen's club, or get on a bus to tour the city when it is 10 degrees out.

After eight hours of this I told Jackie "New York is a great place to visit if there is nobody else here."  I would allow robots to work in stores and prepare excellent food.  NYC Public Library should be open 24 hours a day, and there should be just as many Mets as Yankees stores.  In fact, more Mets stores as we need the publicity.

Which brings me to Tom Seaver.  Tom Terrific was and remains one of my heroes, though he stopped playing baseball a quarter century ago.  He was the face of the Mets, and is still The Franchise.  He and his compatriots took a lousy team and finally got it serious, and the Amazing Mets of 1969 shocked the baseball world, and I had found my team.  Tom won Cy Young awards and pitched in two World Series.  While the sixty-nine team still gets the headlines, my love of baseball stems from the 1973 team that roared from last place in the summer to first in October. What a ride.  They are My Boys, more than the '69 and '86, and about tied with the 2000 team - What are we doing here playing October baseball?



Stupidity and greed sent Tom and other useful elements of the Mets off to other places, and we suffered through more mediocrity led by Hall of Famer Joe Torre.  Tom came back in 1983 to put some fannies in the seats of Shea and Jackie and I saw him pitch on Father's Day 1983.  I got to see him, and later he autographed a ball for me.  More dumb moves sent Tom to Chicago and he stayed there long enough to get his 300 wins before retiring after 1986 (oddly as a member of the Boston Red Sox).

Tom makes appearances now at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and other places, but he is mostly occupied by his winery.

And Lyme Disease. Third stage Lyme disease.

"A few months ago, I thought my mind was going. I couldn't remember things." He thought he was suffering from the onset of dementia. He became fearful, withdrawn, for the first time in his life. He was afraid he'd get lost in the New York City streets he used to own. After some tests, it was almost a relief to find out that he had Lyme disease, which could be controlled by vitamins, medicine, diet -- no wine, a cruel irony. And mental stimulation."
                                                                       Pat Jordan, The Constant Gardener, SportsOn Earth.com

Third stage Lyme disease is like this:

Lyme disease can become chronic especially in the elderly or have poor health. This later stage in Lyme disease could also be caused by very late diagnosis and treatment of the infection or persistent infection despite medication. At this stage, the symptoms can be beyond your wildest imaginations and may include:
* Arthritis–In the later stage of Lyme disease, you may develop arthritis. You’ll have redness, swelling, pain in your joints and stiffness in your shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and smaller joints.
* Neurological problems: Neurological problems will arise during the second stage, and they will increase in intensity. You could experience more severe numbness in your arms, legs and other parts of your body, along with an itch or burn. More headaches may be felt, as well as problems with speaking, memory loss, depression, anxiety, and panic. Additional neurological indications could be Bell’s Palsy, or facial nerve paralysis, and aseptic meningitis.
* Conditions which are serious symptoms and are a part of chronic Lyme disease include heart inflammation, visual dysfunction causing blurred vision, chronic fatigue, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), abdominal pain, pelvic pain, irregular heartbeat rate, hearing loss,urinary frequency,shortness of breath, fever, sweats, Diarrhea and irritable bowel.
                                                                                              www.zimbio. com

I had read the article (written by former pitcher Pat Jordan, a long time Seaver friend and author of A False Spring) the night before we went to New York. And I thought if Seaver, age 69, could get lost in this city, what luck do I have? There's a lot of MS in Lyme diease.

Seaver has his "cloudy days" and his wife of so many years Nancy helps him with notes, and he reminds himself with notes. And he does have some short term memory loss. I do, too.  Mr. Seaver has his family close, and while Jackie and I are (or have to be) more self sufficient,  we have angels in place as the other Tom does.  And he does okay.  We do okay.

We both have wonderful supporting wives. Seaver makes wine on a mountain. I write stories in a forest.  Neither disease will kill us, they just make each day a little harder to get through. Seaver, in the story, was really proud that he put in a 12 hour day of grunt work that week.  Grapes is hard.  But you gotta do it if you want the wine.  Writing is hard, but you've got to keep at it if you want other people to read your stories.

So we both struggle out to the mound, warm up, and then see what the first batter brings, get your sign and here you go, big boy. Try this....98 mile an hour fastball.



I would challenge any of the folks dressed up as faux celebrities of TV and movies around Times Square to try and hit Seaver's fastball, hell, even now. I would gladly pay the $20 tip. Cookie Monster can catch and Elmo can stand there terrified. I'd like to see that.
I can still walk around New York, slower, but that allows me to look into faces, hard faces on a winter night, trying to get home.  And the little Buddha inside of me, reminded me that if I was stressing about wanting to take Buzz Lightyear and throw him at My Little Pony (for tips), perhaps I should just say "May you be happy."  Easiest prayer ever. And it still works.

"Hey, Mets' fan. Over here!" May you be happy.

"Get out of my way." May you be happy.

"I got this cab first." May you be happy.

May Tom Seaver be happy. May Nancy Seaver be happy. And Pat Jordan. And Elmo and everyone wearing skimpy customs in Time Square. I myself am doing my darndest to be.  But Mr. 41 and me  will do just fine.  He is still The Franchise. And my all time favorite.  And if he makes more wine, I will drink it.  Let's go Mets.

Thanks for reading this far.  Next will be the Desktop Holiday Party!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Applying for Social Security Disability and other Hobbies.

Well, here's the package right next to my MacBook.  There's the envelope, the letter telling you that you must return the letter, and the pages of stuff that you have to supply answers for in order to receive benefits that you've already paid for in the system since 1981.

The Ponzi scheme called Social Security worked quite well for the Greatest Generation (please do not think I am not knocking the program as it was originally intended - for retirees, widows and orphans [like my mother, my sister in law and her kids]) as those folks didn't do much except hold it together during the Depression, beat fascism to death in WWII, and built the world's strongest economy ever and eventually drove the Communists out of business.  Now, though we Baby Boomers are rolling in the money and and since we cut back on the amount of kids we had, and the jobs that were here now aren't,  there's not going to be enough money for our kids and grandkids in the system to support everyone eligible as it now stands (less and less people paying more and more into the system).  But that's somebody else's problem.

I wanna get mine.  I was going to write "I wanna get what's coming to me", but since I already am a bipolar 57 year old male with MS, I don't want to push whatever luck I may have in standby too far. Its easy in this world to really piss off Karma.

We've gotten by on my wife's job and my retirement and I was content to do so, but when we had a meeting with our financial guru, she insisted that I should look into disability benefits (Social Security Disability - SSD)  Per the Social Security website:

"Disability" under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:
  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
Since just about everything you do ends up in death whether you were planning for it or not, I've always wondered if everybody in the nation is eligible.  The condition that ends in death is life.  I know, easy analogy.  Now the tricky part is, how to qualify.  Since I don't use a wheelchair, or walker, and I don't "look sick", its slightly harder to prove. So you tell your life story in pen and on line, the pen part is sixteen pages, the online only six.  The on line version can get your application started and you'd begin at: 
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityonline/

There's basic stuff here - who are you, where are you from, how long since you last worked, who was the fourth Marx brother, where are your car keys right now, all the things that government programs have wanted for decades.  After the simple application comes the Adult Disability Report (there's a great amount of info for a child's application for SSD on the site as well)..still online, and this one asks for height, weight, the names of your doctors, tests run, and all prescriptions, medical release so that the Social Security worker can contact physicians, and then work history..

Did you ever, if you are employed, think about the things you do all day.  How much time is spent doing whatever it is you do for the length of your workday.  Ever crouch? 


Spend your day like that?  Because all you hear from the other cubicles is "Incoming!" and bam, another case on your pile.  Eventually they find you under your desk and you're back to sitting there until there's a lull and you start crawling toward the elevator (Please be specific as to how much crawling you do per day). Now I'm three years away from a place that I did this work so I'm guessing, what did I do all day?

On the Adult Disability Report, there's a small section for education, and then a space for remarks.  I literally could not think of anything.  How do you describe MS? So many different factors, it slams into each life with a deck of cards, and then deals out what you get.  The bosses at DSS liked whatever I did, so I must have done something.

So I left it blank, and sent it off via InterWeb, and a few days later, right after Thanksgiving, there was a packet with a 16 page questionnaire in the mailbox. Now you could fill that out or there was a simpler version on line.  I recommend taking the time to fill out the longer version, pen to paper. When you have an illness that's not written all over your body, you've got to be able to communicate the inner turmoil your brain and nervous system are in everyday.

Naturally, if you need help completing forms, get it.  The Social Security Administration can assist.

So the packets are gone in the mail, and the guiding rule is about 120 days for a decision.  Maybe by March 2014. 

I never thought I'd actually be able for this, after all those years of telling my clients to apply for this and that, and showing them how.  Now here I am, joining many others in the waiting pool, and being told by someone "You look great!"



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanks for all the memories

Over this recent weekend the USA was deluged with JFK assassination dramas, recreations, books, and the ever popular Zapruder film.  Every person who was even a fetus in Dallas on that day had been interviewed and inculcated or dismissed as someone involved in the conspiracy.  Since abortions are really, really tough to find in Texas, there may have been a zygote or two thinking nasty thoughts, but not that thought. Dear Lord, not those thoughts.  The removal of one man from the world could so  change the future? To take someone from his friends and family for your own personal gain, even if it is as foolish as thinking the nation would benefit.  Buddha was right. Delusions, all delusions.

Mrs. Perry, our elementary school principal, stood in the doorway of our third grade classroom (and when Mrs. Perry stood in the doorway, she was the doorway) and told us President Kennedy had died and we were all going home.  The home part I got, even at age seven.  What I did not know was who President Kennedy was. I thought there were two guys.  The ones above the blackboard..



 

The bearded guy and the man with the mouth full of mashed potatoes that I saw every school day. Now because someone whose first name was also President had "died in Dallas."

Two more words there.  What is "died"? and what is "Dallas"?

I had no experience, as far as I am know, of anyone dying when I was a kid.  My mother's mom died in May 1961, and I don't remember a thing about it (hey come on, I was 4) or her at all.  Her grave site has no marker (right now). And with my mother and sister gone, and all cousins way off the grid, this is all I have:


She was hard working lady, divorced when people did not get divorced, and as a single mom raised her two kids during the Depression. She had a wide family support system, which is not always the case nowadays.  Frances McBride Van Wert is just a set of pictures now.  But I am grateful for her toughness. It helps.

So Frances did not die, she never was to me as a kid. Same with JFK.  Until his funeral.  I watched the entire procession, about three feet away from the TV tube.  I was amazed at the pageantry (in black and white) and the horses, and the drums. The drums.  Even writing those words brings the sound back into my head.  Bump Bump da Bump da da da da da Bump Bump da Bump.  Over and over. Goose bumps again

And that's when I started screaming. That night, or some night just after, I was dreaming I was riding in the car with President Kennedy. I hear a popping sound and the President's head tumbles on to my shoulder.  He screams something into my neck and I woke up screaming.  My parents had me sleep with them that night.  And I can replay that dream in a second.  I wish MS would find that memory and dump it, instead of the one that knows where my car keys are.

Sometime later my parents gave me a book (Tell Me Why series) about President John F. Kennedy. I kept that book for years.  Questions and Answers.  Where was he born? Who were his parents? What did he do? Why did Jack and Jackie dance to the Tennessee Waltz?  I was grateful for that, as well.  It turned me on to American history. So many stories to tell....

Now that I am eleven years older than JFK was when he died, its amazing how much living he put into his 46 years.  Yes, yes, he had his foibles and we know about the womanizing, blah blah, sell some books, or get them at the dollar store in a few years.  What matters is those two kids lost their dad.  Like my mother Marge lost her mother Frances when Marge was 37, or my two nieces and nephew lost their dad (ages 9, 14, and 16) - there he was, and then he wasn't  The guidepost was taken, whether by assassin's bullet or an aneurysm or the long stretched out death of cancer, and the nation, and my family were never the same.  But you go on, because you have to, and treasure what you got, because that's all you get.  Sometimes its the weight of those memories that slow us down and consider the road we are traveling.

But there were memories, and they remain.  My mother told me that I was very talented, though this may not be what she had in mind:

Yes, I am ironing.  Problem with that?  So early on I was a neat freak.  My mother was always washing and ironing clothes, so I thought I'd earn my keep.  The lady on the right in the picture is my father's mother.  That's a whole 'nother story.

Last year I gave list of what I am and am not grateful for.  I am grateful that my mind, damaged by MS, still lets me tell stories. And that I have my group of angels (some seen and some not) all about me to keep me hanging on. And I intend to hang on.  With only occasional screams.  Happy Thanksgiving.

" The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on."  Senator Edward Kennedy.  2008 Democratic National Convention

   
                      

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The 100th Post! Diagnosis Plus Three Years! MS - Year 5! Exclamation Points!

So here we are, 100 posts into the weird world of bipolar disorder and multiple sclerosis/demylination disorder.  I hope it has at least been entertaining for you, as it has been for me occasionally.

So it is now award time...Yes, it is time for the Tommies!


Made from pieces I picked up at Legoland in Disney World (if they are on the ground for five minutes, and no kids pick them up, fair game).

The best way to know if you're bipolar:

Last night you understood the secrets to the universe and this
morning you are contemplating whether the jam goes on top of the
peanut butter or under it.
A tip of the cap tohttp://manicdepressivetalk.com
***********************************************************************************************
The best line about MS:
what kind of a medical condition would call its most annoying symptom a hug?
A tip of the cap to: http://yvonnedesousa.com/
***********************************************************************************************
The dumbest thing about research:

The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
The Multiple Sclerosis Society

They all say the same things, they all want money for research, the money goes to massive pharmaceutical companies that eat cash like a zombie would gnaw your arm off.  Then they want another leg. And they want you to walk, bike, run, push a wheelchair, slide in mud, and get as many of your family and friends to participate as possible and we want their names so we can hit them up for more. A cure is right around the corner. Yep.  Support groups? sure, I go, but no one's cured yet, and all are brave souls to share pain. Stable? Sure, if you have relapsing remitting - I know it still is a tough road - and there are always surprises on the road - you may go a long time between flare-ups.

How about the three groups get together and figure something out? Like Republicans and Democrats. Maybe a concerted effort will speed up treatments and a cure.  It won't come for me, or many others with MS around now, much of a shot for that. But you live in hope, and carry on with how you're doing TODAY.

*******************************************************************************

What have I learned? People are very nice. People are selfish.  Patience is the number one virtue, especially when your wife has a hearing problem. People like to hear your stories, as long as they aren't boring or have to do with the speaker. There are a lot of other people worse off than you.  Enjoy every sandwich.  Disney was right - the world is a carousel of color.  Listen.  Ask for help when you need it, even though you won't. Be prepared. You will forget things. It's okay, your brain is actually trying to rearrange things to keep functioning.  Keep being challenged, whether reading or writing a book.  Everything you did before were lessons to prepare you for this.  I know. I watched my father go through it, and I think I know now what to do and what not to do. Have faith in Someone or Something. The flowers will grow anyway.  That's their job.  People will look at you funny if you park in a handicapped spot, but don't at least drag your foot.  "Nothing wrong with you. Lighten up!"

*********************************************************************************

Some days are better than others, but that's probably true for every sentient being on the planet.  There's not much pain, the fatigue is less, but when its ready to come back, it's like a dynamo. I don't really get overly manic or really down.

*********************************************************************************

I've always noted the beginnings of MS from January 2010, though I knew in the months previous that's something was off. The semi-official diagnosis from the Troy Neurologists was no surprise, though then being told that I did not have lesions on my spine late last year, meant no actual MS, just Demylination Disorder.  Add that to the bipolar disorder, and I'm double disordered.

But I am having a good time. Naps count.

********************************************************************************

I admire the courage I see in people with MS in all its form. Gives me a special appreciation for the Wounded Warriors coming home from George W.'s wars.  And reading what it was like for the Civil War soldiers on both sides, when suffering was almost a requirement, and a slow death the most likely result of anything like a minie ball going through you anywhere.  Mostly from infection.

*********************************************************************************

January 1, 2014 will start year 5 of MS. For all intents and purposes, I've outlived my father's version of the disease. Yay me.

*********************************************************************************

To quote the country song: I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm good once as I ever was.  Just make it before seven PM, okay?

*********************************************************************************

Who are you people who read this thing every week? Tell me sometime.

*********************************************************************************

I have stories to tell, and much to learn.  John Fogerty gave a great concert Sunday (and if you don't know who John Fogerty is, learn) and the intimate crowd(?) or small group made it more like being at a CCR concert in the early 1970s, like at the RPI Fieldhouse. I want to soak up so much and understand what is possible, because in some universe or another, it is.  Who knows? maybe next time I'll end up there.  Maybe that's the universe where the Mets win every year.

********************************************************************************
I've heard this from the New York Mets top brass for years - There is a Plan.

"There's reasons for that
There's reasons for this
I can't think of any right now
But I know they exist"   - Bob Dylan "Hell is my wife's hometown"

You decide.

*********************************************************************************

Thank you for participating even with just your eyes scanning the words.


*********************************************************************************

OK, to be fair, this is from the local MS Society....

As a result of your fundraising efforts, we've provided financial assistance for air conditioners, ramps, home modifications, medical services and more for nearly 200 individuals affected by MS. We were also able to offer a variety of support options, along with the program “Knowledge is Power” to nearly 80 individuals newly diagnosed with MS.

Well played, MS Society....





Monday, November 4, 2013

Shipping off to Boston - Not

In one of these posts I may have stated that I am a fan of the Boston Red Sox baseball (and to my readers in the Ukraine, baseball is an American sport where a player throws a hard ball 144.84 kph at another player 18.47 meters away who must then attempt to hit the ball and run to three bases, 27.4 meters from each other in a square, hoping to return to "home" plate where you began, another 27.4 meters away.  In the meantime, nine other players are trying to stop you from doing that.  Really, you've got to see it).  The Red Sox won the World Series last week, crowning them the best team in baseball, at least the version we play here. I was quite happy for that and gave a tip of my Red Sox cap to the City of Boston, as they deserved some good news.

The Red Sox had not won a World Series from 1918 to 2003.  They did in 2004 (Cool fun factoid - in 2005 a movie called Fever Pitch was made and it starred Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore in a story of these two Bostonians falling in love during the pennant race of 2004.  The script had called for the Red Sox to be beaten out by the NY Yankees, because, well, that's what happens. Alas the Sox shocked the movie producers [and everyone else] by winning. So they changed the script and followed the team to St.Louis to win the series in four games. Here's the fun fact - Jackie and I are in the movie, well, our voices are.  On a day we went to Fenway was one of the first days of shooting, Opening day re-enacted.  Big Old Glory on the Monster in left, bands, and throwing our the first pitch, Stephen King.  So that cheering of 30000 fans includes my wife and me).

When the Sox grabbed the title in 2004, they had a parade in Boston with the players, families and staff of the Red Sox rolled through Beantown on Duckmobiles like this:


They bring you to historic and interesting parts of town, and then hit the water so you can see the skyline of the city. We've done it a number of times, but oddly not in Boston.  (Another odd thing - we had duck boats in Albany until a few years back, and whenever the boats would go by the welfare office where I worked, the host/hostess on the boat would have the tourists look to the other side of the street, and shun the building where all the poor people went to get help.)

So anyway, there was the 2004 championship duck boat parade and Jackie and I rose up at about 4:30  AM, and got on a local bus charter and made it to Boston to see the parade and revel with everyone.  






We enjoyed the time hitting pubs and having a great lunch while watching the duck boats splash in the Charles River, and the Sox players waving the Championship trophy. My wife has always told me it was one of her favorite days, ever.

And the real reason we could go? The parade was held on Saturday. We couldn't do anything about the 2007 World Series win because they clinched on a Sunday, and the parade was Tuesday or Wednesday.  Nope. Still working.

So here it was again, our big chance. I called and got reservations for the trip to Boston on 11/2/13.  I told Jackie, who was pleased and raring to go. Until Friday. That was when the slight cold she'd had had erupted into a very bad cold.  Immediately I got buyer's remorse.  In '04, we could trail the team, following the Ducks, and running all the ups and down of Boston hills.  Hills, there are hills in Boston.  Get up at 4:00 AM? No.

That bird has flown the coop and slammed into a brick wall.  I called and canceled, and even verified it with the bus driver when he called me at 5:00 AM Saturday from the bus to ask if we were coming. We watched on MLB.tv.

Next month we've got a bus trip to Radio City.  We leave later and cannot stir too much as we have the show in the middle of the day, so limited walking.  

My wife said "We have to put a little more thought into these trips."  I must agree.  I could get around Disney World well enough because there was no time limitations.  There's always another bus, and Space Mountain won't fall to dust. Relax. Missed the parade? OK, we'll do it again in a few hours. 

Long trips with a lot of driving are just out, the agreement being that I'll do the beginning and the end, and Jackie does the middle. We adjust.

But so help me (deity), if the Mets ever win the World Series again, I demand they thaw my body out at the cryogen stasis lab and plop me in a wheel chair, so I can see one more.  For now.....


And in memory.......


Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Dalek goes to Disney World

OK, this one is about a favorite TV show of mine, Doctor Who. I've mentioned the show before in these posts and thought I'd have a little fun with the characters, well, one specific character.  First, if you need to get to speed on the Doctor (the show has been around for 50 years) go here and brush up. It's been a BBC show since the early 60's and we got it in the USA in the late seventies over on public television, which is the main reason I still support public television.  Now if you have brushed up, or read enough of these posts to get the gist, allow me to introduce you to ....


a Dalek.  These are the creatures of pure evil that have become the Doctor's main enemy over the years of the show.  They want to rule everything and they don't care how they do it. They will deal and betray, kill all their allies and even each other when things get really out of hand.  But sometimes, you know even a Dalek likes to take it easy, get away from the universe destruction, and have some time to relax and have fun.  So since anything or anyone in Disney World can be a character from some show or movie, and the bad guys are always around the Dalek could transport himself in and no one would be the wiser.  The only problem being that this Dalek transported in at only four inches high....

ALERT!>>>ALERT!>>>I AM FOUR INCHES TALL!>>> (this is a Dalek talking, think of it as the rasping voice of a flatulent heavy smoker) >>>I AM SMALL!>>>REPAIR IS REQUIRED!>>>REPAIR IS REQUIRED!>>>OBEY!OBEY!

He'll go on like this for a while, so let's show him around.  (By the way, for either the bipolar or MS crowd out there, I will bet that there's a Dalek in your life).



WHAT IS THIS?>>> This is the entrance to DisneyWorld, Dalek. That's the train station.

MOVING TROOP TRANSPORT! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!>>>

No, Dalek, those are just peaceful humans and they are being taken from one attraction to another on the grounds.

I MUST SEE THE ATTRACTIONS! NOW!>>>

Okay, Okay, lucky you're so small the cops let you in when they searched my back pack.

THE DALEKS WILL DESTROY ALL RESISTANCE. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!

No, that's someone else.  Now here you go..


WHAT IS THIS?>>>>

It's the Castle.  That's where the princesses and the Disney characters live.

WHO RULES HERE?>>>>

Well, there are some Evil Queens here and there, and they think they do.

I MUST MEET THE EVIL QUEEN! TOGETHER WE WILL RULE DISNEY WORLD!>>>

Uh, no. That is not going to happen. Here, let's take a walk. It's a bit warm and I could use a cool drink.


THIS DRINK IS TALLER THAN ME! DALEKS MUST NOT BE MADE SMALLER!>>>

Actually, that's not a tall. That's a Grande. Iced Mocha.

DALEKS CAN DO THEIR DUTY IN ICE OR HEAT! TELL THE BARISTA TO MAKE ME A VENTI! DALEKS MUST BE VENTI!>>>

OK, this is not going well. You are starting to attract onlookers.  

NO ONE CAN SAVE THEM FROM THE RULE OF THE DALEKS!>>>

You come with me.

WAIT! WHO IS THAT?>>>


"Allow me to introduce myself. I am C-3PO, protocol droid. This is R2-D2, astromech droid.  We are presently hosting Star Tours -"

SILENCE!>>>

"Well! Such nerve from a drab little robot like you.  You tell him, R2."

Boop a tweet booptweet weeeooooooooo!

SILENCE! >>> TAKE ME TO THE LEADER!>>>



YOU MUST BE JOKING!>>>DALEKS ARE NEVER FOOLED!>>>THIS IS DARTH GOOFY!

"Gawrsh, howdja figger that?"

WHO LEADS?>>> TAKE US TO THE LEADER!

Fine, Fine. There...

STATUES! OLDER HUMAN MALE NOT THE DOCTOR HOLDING THE HAND OF A TRANSFORMED RODENT!>>>

It's an idea, Dalek.  Yes, Walt Disney is no longer alive but he gave his people the idea of a place where families could come and have fun, and get away from the troubles, where anything you could imagine could happen.  The rodent is named Mickey Mouse.  Mr. Disney thought up Mickey and from there his empire grew.

DISNEY IS DAVROS! ORIGINATOR OF ALL DALEKS!


Well, kinda sorta, except he didn't destroy planets, etc. Just a little bit of Florida.  And other places around the world.  People flock to these parks.

DISNEY IS THE DAVROS OF EARTH!>>>WE MUST LEARN MORE!>>>OBEY!>>>

First you must learn the secret song.  Just follow me...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=KmBgJuS62Fc

The Dalek came home with us. He was completely defeated by puppets and songs.  All he does now is hum that it is a small world after all.  But I don't trust it.



It's like the negative people in your life, and you have a pretty good idea who they are, but you still stay in touch, still visit and then suddenly wham! Dalek Invasion!  They leave you for a "normal" person, or say they can not help you to the doctor, though that was a great dinner you made us last night.  The Daleks live in our own hearts and minds as well, and we must be careful to hear the sound of their tread and their demanding ways.  Only the way of openness and kindness (even if that means removing some Daleks from your life) can keep us living with hope. Hope! Obey! Kindness! Obey!

Thanks for reading. More soon.

Monday, October 7, 2013

October musings, Chester Arthur, and stuff like my birthday.

October has arrived and with it comes a government shutdown, baseball playoffs without the Mets again (but our first runner up, the Red Sox, are back in), my 57th birthday, therapy classes, and an MRI and all the time I need to put them all in the proper order of enthusiasm, considering that to make it a perfect month all we need is a colonoscopy, but my doctor told me we can save that for next year.  Guess you can't have everything.

I'd written this whole blog out in one of my note books, and what I saw there later this week was a lot of whining, so I scrapped it.  There is something to letting things rest a bit, and then reread it to see how bad it actually is, and it was, so let's go with a new version.

I never watched even one minute of Breaking Bad, but always had plenty of time for the folks stuck in the zombie apocalypse on the other channel.  Crystal meth versus active dead people.  A drug that can destroy lives versus lives that were destroyed by a plague, only the victims get back up and want to eat you.  Actually, not that much difference.  I never saw Walter White in the waiting room of the Social Services department where I worked, but I sure saw his customers. The Active Dead People.


Walter



Walking Dead's Milton


So I had a meeting with my neurologist last week, and if you consider that my co-pay is 15 dollars a visit, that means I pay one dollar a minute to touch my nose and his finger, walk in a straight line (not happening) and how many fingers is he holding up.  Entertaining as this is to me (and you), I am basically being told I look great and see you in six months, and I give him money to do that.  But I'm not great.  Friday I had a meeting with a local publisher about getting my book out when it is done.  Occasionally my brain would just shift into idle and I'd stop in the middle of a sentence.  The person I was speaking with was patient enough to wait it out, and we had a good talk.

It's like you are an old car, and you are taken to the mechanic, who looks around the front of the car and tells the owner its amazing the car is still going, but there's nothing he can do to make it any better except look at it.

Now on to Chester Alan Arthur.  Some of you may know that October 5 is Chester's birthday, and that each year at every presidential grave site a wreath is sent by the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to note the birthday of one of his predecessors'.  Chester is one of Mr. Obama's predecessors, number 21 out of 44.  Normally the wreath is placed before the gravesite by Marines or another of the Armed Services, there some speechifying, and military (gun) salute, and lots of photographs for the media.  This year, however, due to the shutdown, no Marines, but one citizen was kind enough to bring  a classic firearm and salute the man who was Commander in Chief from 1881-85.

Normally, it looks like this:


The book I am working is about his younger years living in and around my home town so I'm learning more and more about the dude.



Info
Chester Arthur
Tom Martin


Date Born
Oct 5, 1819
Oct 9, 1956
Year of Death
1886
So far so good
Age at Death
57
I will be 57 on 10/9/2013
Chronic Illness
Bright’s Disease
MS
Career 
Politician, Government official 
Career Civil Servant
Mustache
Yes
Yes
Lived in Lansingburgh, NY?
Yes
Yes

I am doing my best to not notice that Chet died when he was 57.  But that happens. You get to an age and what's the first thing you turn to? Obituaries, right.  Look at the ages.  Got passed that one! Whew! Whoa, 55 for her, poor thing.  Twenty years after the Civil War ended, the men of Chet's time were mourning the passage of their comrades in arms.  Chet even visited Ulysses S. Grant when the General was finishing his memoirs up near Saratoga, and in the summer of 1885, attended his funeral.

Arthur always had a bad rap when he was in the White House that he was nothing but a hack who sold the furniture, and partied the time away. Nothing of the kind.  He held the office in deep respect and carried himself well, making sure civil service reform was done, and keeping the United States on the world stage.  His party opted not to nominate him in 1884, but he took it in good stead and retired to a law practice and his family.  He knew he was quite ill, and he died the following year.

Chester's wife died a few months before the 1880 election, so Chester carried on alone, with the daughter acting as White House hostess.  I am grateful to still have my wife, my First Lady, with me.

No one will fire muskets over my grave (unless the undertaker has made a serious miscalculation) but I do hope these stories and others coming soon would entertain.  I am grateful to you for taking the time, and Hello Russia.  More soon. 5000 plus hits!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

And now for something completely different...Bipolar Stereo Equipment!

Before I get going, take a look at this:



OK, cue the camel:  Guess what stuff this is, guess what stuff this is.....

That's right! Bipolar Stereo equipment!  Now someone in some marketing office somewhere came up with this, or maybe it is just really niche marketing, but the fact that a company like Best Buy would cater to the manic depressives makes me proud that I turned to them to debug myWindows machine. And here I was telling the cashier about how I only use Macs, but I have a few files on the Dell (like all my MRIs, and also Chapter 9 of my mystery novel) that I should have backed up, feeling the invisible face slap of techies everywhere.  I'll have it back in a week or so (the Dell, not the face slap).

Anyway, back to the picture.  The cashier  and I did a few riffs on what was piled behind up there. Would you buy a product that would:

1. Might work or might not, depending on its mood.  May just stay in bed.
2. Play Helter Skelter over and over, no matter how many times you click Forward. "Wassa matter man? that is a great frackin song!
2.a Yeah, I dropped the base line! What of it? Lots of stereos dropped their bass and they're fine. What's wrong with you? Why don't you come to a meeting sometime?
3. Cry at the insertion of any Michael Bolton CD, for plenty of reasons.
4. Call its mother if every Frank Zappa is played and its JUST FINE, thanks for not checking in more, Mom.  Its in Zappa denial.
5. Refuse to turn off, even if you swear you will unplug it.  That's you being mean to me.
6. Do all kind of things you won't understand, but gotta accept.
7. May leave at any time for rehab, not that you care. But do not look for any other equipment while I'm gone! I'm sorry!

So you know, there are challenges, but on good days the music is truly amazing.  The cashier and I had a laugh over it, and then she said "I should not make fun of them." I told her that I do it all the time.

So while you're pondering the bipolar stereo, I'll move on the MS decision.  It involves this:



and this:



The lawnmower died today.  It didn't have the decency to wait until October when all things Martin dies.  The mower hung in for seventeen years, and had been ecstatic, I'm sure, when selected by me to complete the grass cutting of our tiny yard AND had been selected over the electric start auto drive super duper baby one that my in-laws had for their yard which was the size of South Dakota.  I thought the little Sears one could handle it and it did until this morning.  I'll take it in to be serviced at Sears and hope for the best.

Jackie was about to go for a walk this afternoon when she strolled into the front hall and saw the front door covered with ants. Flying ants.  This is the second invasion in the last month and I haven't heard a word from Vladimir Putin about getting weapons.  The invasion was thwarted, and we cleaned as we did before.  Half way through the pickup, Jackie just looked at me with her deep eyes and said "That's it. We need to go."

The ant invasion happens every year only it happened further out in the yard and I would do what I can and let nature take its course (they're flying ants - they'll fly away).  Further lawn upkeep would hold things at bay.  More trips to Home Depot, more stuff to lift and spread and dig, and I loved it.  I fall into my chair exhausted after a good day outside.  I now fall exhausted into my chair after brushing my teeth.  I can do a few things (see my recent blog on my first walker) but relax time is built in for everything.  Friday I ran some errands and wrapped up at three o'clock.  I was walking around the bookstore and at 3 PM just felt the energy go right down the MS drain.  So home I went.

This is the the world as it is now, and Jackie and I are starting the preliminary negotiations to prepare to move that world someplace else.  No worries, you can come too.  I hope you do.

5000 hits. Thank you. More soon.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

My First Walker...

First, put some Jan and Dean music on (Google them or, if you're near a Starbucks [and who isn't?] buy the CD - in the cutout bin by the baristas).  And while you're listening to Surf City, I want to show my new and improved, totally cherry, transportation.  In MS World, this is a big step for us.

So here's my new little deuce coupe....

 
 

Yeah, she’s cool, I know.  This baby can pick up and hold the just purchased three bags of mulch after I pull them out of the back of the SUV, one at a time, and then after lugging each bag one and half feet, drop them right into the bin and I’ve only knocked it over once!  After entertaining the neighborhood by picking up the mulch again, lifting it two feet up again, and letting the bags then tumble back into the bin, and I am ready.  After acknowledging the support of the neighbors, which was to stand on their lawn and watch, I grab my beauty by two hands, lift up the back, and we glide up the driveway.  I push, direct the wheels, bounce off the dirt near the driveway as I stumble, and then reach the sidewalk!  I am now no more than ten feet from where I want to be.

But I’m pooped from doing that so I go back in the house, grab a cold drink, and watching another “Breaking Bad.”

This is why I am still doing yard work that I used to finish in May. That and the weather.  Since I wrote the first words of this paragraph it has basically rained continuously and any break in the drenching is used to dash out, get the mail or newspaper, and just before getting back in the house, seeing the bags of mulch fermenting near the perennials.

But I have faith the sun will reappear since it is not due to explode for a few more billion years.  And I shall take my First Walker by the hand grips and we will continue the work.


My goal is to have the yard work done before the first snow fall, which around here can be early October.  Sometimes I wonder why I do this, and I know the time is coming when I won't be able to, just ...not.....yet., but I still think this is for my father.  My yard will never be as nice as his was,  but I do so enjoy the time when I sit on the deck, beverage in one hand and book in the other, and see what was accomplished here. Not bad.

And my Walker can fill in as transportation when the time comes.


I still am working on the engine part.  It's my little deuce coupe,  you don't know what I got.  If you do, please tell me, and let me know when I can get out of this thing.

Thanks for reading.  More soon.  Heading to 5000.