Friday, May 31, 2013

One run

I've been struggling lately with not being active enough.  I was doing so well in my physical therapy until I went to Mexico, then I did nothing.  I walked a lot in my sandals and didn't stretch and came home fearing that I was right on back to square one.   It took a few days but I was amazed that my foam rollering and flexibility came back much quicker.  Much fewer knots when I rolled. 

I just got back on track again and then my trip to Ohio.  Taking my motorcycle was a bit of a mistake.  I think I'm sitting too compact on it.  My hip flexors are bent even more than sitting in a car.  So they get pretty tight after 6hrs. 

I decided to take a little jog Wednesday in hopes of warming up a little to stretch better.  I jogged 3/4 of a lap at 8min pace, then sped up each lap to see if I could run a good 6min mile.  The doctor told me she'd rather me run all out, than run long.  So off I went.  I ran perfectly paced laps.  1:40, 1:30, 1:20, 1:10 for a 5:40 mile.  It was pretty much as hard as I could go but didn't feel too bad because I worked my way into it. 

During the run I did feel some patellar pain, but after I felt none.  Last time I ran I felt none until the next day.  Here I am a couple of days later and with no pain at all.  A little hamstring and vmo soreness....but no pain.  So that's progress :-)

In other news, I went home last weekend and was able to update the bathroom in the psychologists office of my building.  It had a utility sink, lots of brown stained ceiling tiles, a broken light, dark green walls going into horrible flowery red and white wallpaper.  I put in a proper counter/sink, new ceiling tiles, new light, light green paint, and white antique looking wallpaper.

I also cleaned the basement.  I found evidence that my building had been a hardware store, a jewelry store, a real estate office, a sign shop, and now a law office/psychologist office.  I also found that apparently every person who had ever moved out left a tv, that every door and window that had ever been replaced was stored in basement, and that dead pigeons preserve surprisingly well when entombed in coal dust.

I have now had 3 people look at the masonry problems on the third floor and nobody would like to tackle it.  People only do construction now (foundations, fireplaces, etc) mason's that do restoration are extremely hard to find.   I've researched the procedure and am prepared to do it myself it the next person declines.  I'll need to purchase some equipment, but that would still be cheaper than paying someone and I'd learn a good deal.  The problem then becomes time off work.....

Lack of vacation time is a new development.  I've been carrying on an online relationship with a friend of a friend from Ukraine.  She was supposed to come here for a month to visit but her visa was declined.  I suppose it's not a financially, logistically, or emotionally savvy investment, but emotional attachment isn't always rational.  There's something about Inna that I enjoy.  Maybe I'm lonely, or disappointed in the dates I've had here, or enjoy "exotic" women, or whatever the case...All of my readers are aware enough of the psychological and emotional flaws that I bide.  Anyways, I've chosen to go there and visit her.  

I'll fly from DC to New York, to Moscow to Simferopol.   We've rented an apartment in Sudak, which is a vacation town along the Black Sea in the Crimean Peninsula.  I'll spend one week there with her and then a week wandering.  I'm guessing I'll try to see Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and end up in Istanbul, Turkey.  We'll see.  I haven't really planned the second week.  So I'll have to give that some thought.  I'll probably just keep my bicycle pointed so that the Black Sea stays on my left and keep on riding and exploring anything that looks cool.

My mother was supposed to have her bimonthly MRI on her brain tumor done Wednesday.  Unfortunately while I was home it was appallingly apparent that she was experiencing the same list of symptoms that appeared the last time her tumor had required surgery.  I've spent a LOT of time working alongside my mother in the last 5 years.  Every home project I've accomplished she's been right there with me handing me tools, discussing options, and giving her input.  Usually she's a step ahead of me, preparing the next tool, measuring for the next task, etc.  This time she was forgetful.  She would at times seemed at a loss for what we were doing.  She was showing sure signs of confusion and mental fatigue. 

We had a party Saturday night and many concerned friends, who would normally remain quiet about such matters, expressed their concern for her.  It's horrible to watch your mother frantic in the store, thinking she'd lost her keys, and then have to remind her that you drove....that you had the keys.  Things like that happened apace this weekend.  It scares us both.  I got the courage to talk it over with her and we talked to the doctor and decided to pay for the better MRI.  That wasn't available until today, so she's there now undergoing that.   I wish I could be there.

Tom's is in New Mexico enduring the decline of his sister.  My mother is in Ohio facing her own scary condition and instead of spending my vacation time to visit.... I'm selfishly planning trips across the world. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Friends humor

My friends love my stories.  So much so that I have quite a collection of owl memorabilia and whatnots.  Here's the latest little gem someone sent me.

A strangely positioned rock

Apt timing I suppose, that I had chosen this week to return to my research into man's interpretation of time.  I've brought along the idea a few times here that we currently live in a culture where time is equal and synonymous with progress.  The belief that the next thing will be better, and the next better still, until eventually we reach a state of utopia.   I've given this subject a lot of thought lately, because here and there I continue plodding along on my novel.  To write an accurate description of what I think the distant future of Earth will be like I have to familiarize myself with what past inhabitants have thought about such subjects.  I can't simply assume in the future that they will share ours.  If I want to put myself into the minds of my characters I need to perceive how they will think.

 Basically I've chosen 3 distinct beliefs of the passage of time.  The first, popular during the ascendancy of the Roman Empire is similar to ours.  That is the belief in upward linear progression.  The second is the polar opposite and it has served its followers similarly during the Dark Ages and times when the reality of peoples days were toil and suffering.  When the Golden Age of Rome was seen in the past as the ideal time and the thoughts were that the farther we got from that Golden Age, the worse and worse it would get.  The third is popular in the East and Native American's, the belief that time is cyclical and follows repeating patterns throughout history. 

  While thinking lately about time I've given a good deal of thought to why people believe as they do.  What would cause someone to think their situation in life, or the next generations will only get better....or can only get worse?  Mostly, I think, that it has to deal with the basic philosophical questions we all struggle with. Where did we come from, why are we here, where are we going, and so forth.  What I have realized is that what you believe gets whatever support it has from two distinct sources. The first of these is the factual evidence, if any, that backs it; the second is the emotional appeal, if any, that it offers to those who embrace it.    

When you ask anyone about their beliefs in the afterlife, or the future for that matter.  Everyone will loudly tell you that they base all of their predictions of the first.   Facts.   Because habits of thinking hardwired into contemporary culture treat the first of those as though it’s the only thing that matters.  Then reacts to any mention of the second, emotional appeal, with the same sort of embarrassed silence that might greet an echoing fart at a formal dinner party. Since human beings aren’t passionless bubbles of intellect, though, the second source of support is fairly often the more important and the more revealing of the two.   You see, humans seek a description of beliefs that is emotionally appealing to them and then simply fill in the facts later to justify their choice (sometimes no matter how ludicrous those manufactured facts need to be).

I said apt at the top of the page because this week Tom called with some horrible news.  Lovely Suzy, my "aunt" has been found to have terminal esophageal cancer.  Now if any person alive should believe in the function of time, and the religions that follow it, laid out by Augustine of Hippo's (that all things will decline until death where you are liberated to utopia of some sort or other) it is poor Suzy.  Who's life has been on long continuous battle from polio, scoliosis, lung problems, etc. 

Notice, in both the Joachimist (things just keep looking better until utopia) and Augustinian (things are going down the crapper, we deal with it stoically and die, and then get to utopia) both share the common theme of utopia in the afterlife.   The third, which I intend to explore for my book, is a more Eastern position.  That time is cyclical.  Reincarnation and many other religions steal from this view. 

I could tell from the conversation that both Tom and his brother Paul are struggling with this.  Having someone in your life suffer without the ability to help them is very, very difficult.  In times like this it's easy to see why humans tend to latch on to a belief that is emotionally appealing.  Whether Suzi will be sitting with Rita and Bill looking down on us from heaven, reborn into another life, or simply destined to be only a strangely positioned rock in a similar row of rocks in an otherwise smooth field...we may never know. 

One thing for sure that I gained from Suzi that is irreplaceable to me.  Is the lessons I've been able to learn about her loving brother Tom from his interactions with her.  Seeing him, throughout her life, care for, endure, and love that woman has given me glimpses of the depths of him.  It has taught me how selfless, logical, yet empathetic a man should be.  Never, in all of her suffering has he hid away somewhere and sent his love piecemeal through cards or the phone.  He has taken her into his life and given her someone when at times she had none.  For that I thank you Suzi.  I didn't know you nearly as well as I should have and unfortunately it doesn't seem time is going to allow that.....but here's hoping that in whichever way you see it, the future does you well.