That’s a wrap


bandaged-bandages-surgery.jpg, by r. nial bradshaw on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

Back in my zone. In my zip code (well, the adjoining one, at a bar in mid-afternoon, at the moment). Safe in the knowledge that: a) it is Sunday; b) the kids return to school tomorrow; c) my appointment with Dr P isn’t until Tuesday, which means d) I can spend tomorrow however I choose; e) as long as my choices involve moving the car, laundry, fridge inventory, errands still pending from 2015, and loads of self-improvement.

We spent New Year’s Eve with my parents. It was quiet and pretty lovely. We toasted for their wedding anniversary while we had dinner, and later in the weekend, we saw my dad’s photos from their epic post-wedding ship voyage away from Argentina, through Europe (eventually landing in Israel).

Later in the eve, the kids sprawled out on the floor past their bedtime, wrapped in a sleeping bag that is more than forty years old and just as comfy to be under to watch TV as it ever was, and eschewing network offerings for a marathon of The Thin Man movies on TCM. An oddball choice, but the kids enjoyed them – mostly the silly drunks and any scenes with the cute terrier. We did switch to the ball drop at midnight, but only about a minute before. Young J seemed baffled at all the goings-on there. Young A woke from his nap on the floor mere seconds before the new year and was (miraculously) not cranky.

The next day, we tried to get moving early enough to go to the ice rink for the first session of the day. We failed. We finally got there at nearly 5 pm, for a late afternoon skate. The rink near my parents’ house is the same one I grew up skating on, and this time around, not only were J, Young J (a new skating aficionado) and Young A (jury still out) there to skate with me, my old, old friend M and her husband came up to join us. This was particularly historic because M and I skated there a million times when we were kids. Perhaps the last time we’d been there together was the early 80s. We’ve changed, and so has the rink. No more Pac-Man, no boys we had crushes on showing up. We weren’t wearing leg warmers, either. But there we were, skating side by side for a few precious moments, and all that we’ve lived through between the last time we skated together and the present seemed both relevant and also totally irrelevant. Strange accordioning of time.

It was a beautiful, emotional, and confusing reunion, me trying to divide my time between M and her husband, my kids, and J. I wouldn’t have changed anything, except, that is, for the possibly drunk man who plowed into Young J, hurting his already bruised knee even more. Also, I would have been happier being instantly comfortable on skates, as opposed to how it went – sheer terror and full-body trembling for an oval and a half, followed by an easing of tension and even some backwards skating (mostly in an attempt to keep track of my family, also because you don’t have to pick your feet up to do it).

A portrait of the blogger on ice

Again I resolved to get myself a pair of skates this year – something I dearly wanted as a child, when my feet were growing too fast for it to make sense. I may or may not actually get them, but for sure I’ll make more frequent efforts to skate. (I didn’t fall on my head, which was the primary fear gripping me through that tense first lap, imagining what I’d have to tell Dr K about what had happened to his careful handiwork with lasers…)

The next day, my mom took the kids to a musical at the Kennedy Center, and J and I made our way downtown to check out the Hirshhorn Museum. Art museums are currently something we don’t really try often with the kids – too much of a gun-to-the-head feeling associated with it – so it was great to have some time that was our own, without the babysitter meter clicking constantly in the back of our minds. The thing we most enjoyed was this absurd and insane film, which may or may not make any sense to you, but there you are. This poster also suggested lots of life/death things to me (and not just the obituary posters):

Artist: Allen Ruppersberg (did not note title) - on view at the Hirshhorn right now.)

These days, when I am confronted by something which has the potential to be very emotional for me, I feel like I choose to document it and move along, with some detachment. In this particular case, I find my mind wanted to bifurcate, one part wishing to be dismantled by the thoughts the mottos on the posters suggest (in terms of what the minus means for me, plugging J and I into the equations of in the place of “you” and “me”).

But the other part of my mind stood aside laughing at anyone who could be moved to tears by this. It refused to metabolize sentimentality. At the museum, I noticed this piece, I took it in very quickly, and moved away from it. After I had moved away, I realized I needed to capture it somehow, and even though my feet were at that point aching a lot, I went back to take a photo. So it goes with the bifurcated mind. It’s hard to keep both parts satisfied.

We also took the opportunity for a very clichéd selfie. It was worth it.

We hold this selfie to be self-evident.

We got home today. I finished a closet organization task I’d started last week, to get all of my unnecessary medications out of the way of J’s clothes (they never should have been there in the first place). I designated a “dead meds” bag to keep them in, since you never know what will come in handy.

"Dead meds" bag (stuff I no longer need). Good to see it so full.

Tucked away, hopefully never to be needed again. That’s how I like my meds.

This week brings visits to Dr P, and also Dr D (my ophthalmologist). I’m more worried about the latter visit than the former. It has been months since I’ve been able to wear my contact lenses, and my vision is still far from clear, even though the retina specialist wants nothing further to do with me, because from his standpoint I am fine. I want to have answers to the questions Dr D cannot answer for me, since I’m his first patient presenting with these symptoms as a result of my treatment. It doesn’t feel great, this guinea pig feeling. Better than going blind, obviously, but unsettling that it persists for so long.

The vision problems – and possibly other meds – have also kept me from reading very much or for very long. My pile of books stacks higher by the day and extends to things I have been renewing from the library for a couple of years now. My dearest wish for the new year is to find the serenity, focus, and clear vision (literally) I need in order to read as much as I’d like.

I’d also like to find my way back to my body – the one I’m comfortable in, the one where I feel most myself. I’m not there now, by a long shot. This week, I will hopefully rebuild habits and patterns, as well as prohibitions on things I shouldn’t have ever gotten into in the first place. Lest you get the wrong idea, I mean food.


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