It hit a sunny 550F in Boston today and I took advantage of it and went for a few hours. It was like Spring. People jogging in shorts along the Charles walkway, a nice warm (for February) breeze - lovely day.
My favorite in B&W . . . .
Hearts: a cautionary tale
My Buddy John is in surgery today to install stents in his coronary arteries, and it's interesting how he got to this point. (Background: John has worked physically all his life and is in, outwardly, exceptional condition.)
At the end of his annual doctor checkup, putting on his shirt he tells the doctor he gets out of breath when walking the dogs. Hmmmm. Doctor tells him to take his shirt back off and does an EKG. Hmmmm. Sends him upstairs to the cardiologist who does an echo-cardiogram. Hmmm. This doctors asks John
"When did you have your heart attack?". What !!????
After more testing over several weeks, John has hereditary coronary artery disease, the arteries on one side of his heart had collapsed and the left side of his heart does not pump at all and will never again pump (results of his heart attack). Doctor's immediately schedule stints to keep his other arteries from collapsing and killing him. That's going on today.
Heart disease is rightly called "The Silent Killer".
(Minolta lens from 1970's & a Tiffen #3 soft glass filter on the digital Fuji X-E1.)
"One More Sad Story's One More Than I Can Stand"
I'm a slow reader. I read good sentences again and again, just to enjoy them before continuing on to the story. Edit Wharton (I'm reading her short stories) wrote (she's dead) good sentences.
"Her mind was a hotel where facts came and went, like transient lodgers, without leaving their forwarding address, and often without paying their bill."
"Mrs. Leveret felt like a passenger on an ocean steamer who is told that there is no immediate danger, but that she had better put on her life jacket."
" . . . . she had a way of looking at you that made you feel there was something wrong with your hat."
A Magical Time (1955) and Place Gone Forever
Stumbling through Ebay (looking for something - anything that I don't already have), I found this old postcard for sale. We actually lived nearby at the time, within walking distance, and this is pretty much the way I remember it.
Well, my heart is doing well; still must take medication for the A-fib, but it is keeping my blood pressure (130/86) and pulse rate (82) under control, but the rythms are still not good. So, we opted for an electric pulse treatment sometime in April. No surgery involved, they just put those paddles on your chest and plug you into the wall socket. (That's a joke.) Very low probability (but not zero) of killing you or actually slowing your heart rate too much, so then you need a pacemaker. (Old age is sooooo complicated !)
Let me get back to John's saga (see several boxes up above, about the stents in his arteries)......
This is scary.
When the doctors operated to install the stents, they immediately stopped working on him. Two of his coronary arteries were virtually 100% blocked and the other two were 80% blocked. (Fat? cholesteral? whatever). Doctor says "You're not leaving that bed until we can do quadrupal bypass on you. And they kept him in bed, and a few days later did the bypass surgery. Doctor says if he had done any exertion (like shoveling snow) he would have had a heart attack.
John told me his only sympton was that he would get out of breath sometimes. No pain, no dizzyness ever.
Anyway, the bypass went well (they actually used glue to close up his chest - no stitches!!) and he is home and looking okay.
So I am now paranoid and told my cardio doctor today that I get these funny feelings in my chest now and then. He studied my new (today's) EKG and said "You don't have what John had. Take Zantac for a week and see if it goes away".
However I am reading up on eggs (my new bad habit) and think I will cut way back on these, and maybe the ice cream too, and the cookies, and milky ways.
"Paranoia strikes deep. Into your heart it will creep."
Hey, It's Valentine's Day
(Thanks for the picture, Pete.)
From The New Yorker
The last week of cold weather took a break today, and I bugged out of here, down to the art museum, not that I needed to see art today, but that I needed to do something outside this house.
I walked around wicked slow, and visited hallways and small rooms that I usually skip over, and today I read many of the little descriptions alongside the paintings.
Backup a minute: last week we had this long discussion on a photo forum of how critical people are of other peoples' pictures. However fabulous the picture is, people will pick it apart just to show that they have higher standards than the common lot of us.
Back to the art museum .....
This little (16"X12") painting was in a hallway with about 50 others. It looked like a Vermeer so I step up to it. It is very very nice. Not Vermeer - some French guy (Louis Boilly). The light, the fabrics, the details of the glass, metal and stoneware surfaces are wonderful. The girl is painted pretty and warm and friendly (stop smirking).
The side notes ...... Jees! All the notes did was explain the various discrepancies in the picture. "The curtains are too nice for servants quarters". "The fabric of her clothes is too elegant for a servant". "The furniture, pottery and glass are too nice for a servant's room". etc etc.
I have never seen this kind of critique on any other piece in the museum.. It reminded me of the photo forum discussion and I thought "Some art student was given the job of writing the notes and he/she took the job too seriously". I'm half ready to send the museum an e-mail and get them to rethink the write-up.
My opinion? It's a wicked nice little picture. End of story.
(Can you believe it ?)
Cousin Lucia (Arizona) and I have been Skype-ing now and then. Last night, I did this screen capture. I put on my headphones and we laugh for over an hour . . . it's the funniest hour I spend in any month.
And I always come away wondering why we all scattered about - Florida, New England, Long Island, Arizona, New Jersey, Texas, etc etc . . . why did we do that?
Three hours ago, all this stuff was a Konica Hexanon lens. It took me 90 minutes to tear it down. Then I cleaned everything and lubed the focusing threads, and I cannot get it back together. Not even the first 2 parts ! ? Someone said something about a "double-helicoil", and I cannot find any good instructions on the internet. Giving up for now. I really wanted to do this.
Our one-nice-day-per-week showed up today, and I got out of here, while the getting out was good. Boston was sunny and 55F - beautiful. I walked up and down the harbor twice, stopping for a lunch of tortellini in Quincy Market. Along the "Greenway", the crokus were punching out of the soil - it's February !!! The clouds made nice soft and scattered shadows over the buildings and streets. Really nice trip.
Twenty years ago, this area was an ugly mess. Rusted elevated highway. Horrid traffic. Super-super-ugly. The "Big Dig" project ($15B, funded by Washington - thank you Senator Kennedy) made it one of the prettiest areas of any US city. The highway and trains now run under that park your walking on. One street over is the "Harbor Walk" which is similar to NYC's "West Side Drive", but (arguably) prettier.
The dock shown here is where the Boston Tea Party took place. The sail boat is a replica of the British ship.
The clock tower was built in 1915 and was New England's tallest building (498feet) until 1965. In the 1990's, it was converted to (you guessed it, didn't you?) time-share condo's. I've been up to that observation deck a few years back, and it is a fabulous view (can't remember where I put those pictures).
I had lunch in this marketplace. In the summer, people are shoulder to shoulder in here and it's like 100F inside because of all the bakeries and cookeries. Standing room only. (Today was nice - plenty of benches to eat at.)
They are taking the plastic shrink wrap off the cruise ferries, and tuning up for tourist season.
Of course, Boston drains are properly labeled.
"Lighting is Everything"
I had this discussion with Mike last night; about Hemingway & JRR Tolkien ("The Hobbit") and how they described very minute details of a scene. You wonder sometimes who cares about exactly what a cup of tea or a shadow or a drop of water looks like.
But if you write it well, those common things become interesting and even intriguing; despite that most of us usually don't notice these small things in our lives (way too busy busy). They can still be written up very nicely.
It's similar to classic "still life" paintings. You go to an art museum and see people admiring some beautiful painting; it just looks wonderful. Then you realize, it's a picture of a table top with a dead rabbit (or some kind of bird), a broken water pitcher, a bowl of semi-rotted fruit, a few wilted flowers and a worn old table cloth. But it all looks beautiful, despite that's it's a picture of common things that are generally not considered "pretty".
When the lighting is right (or the words are right), everything little thing is beautiful.
(This is a painting by Dutch master, Jan Lievens, that I shamelessly swiped off the internet.)
Mom turned 23 that month, dad was 25, I was 8mo/3wks down the road.
Today, I have a few grandchildren about the age my mother is in this picture !!