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♫....nothing survives, but the way we live our lives.♫

I reference these lyrics with some hesitation and modification: the former, because the song is called Daddy's Tune while I'm using it in a sisterly context; the latter, because I'm replacing Jackson Browne's 45's with my own age of 57 in comparison to what would have been our sister Sandy's 78th birthday today.

Sandy did make it to her 45th, but never to her 50th; by the fall of her 50th year in 1988, the demons had won and the sister, the daughter, the mother we knew was no longer with us. Except she was, and is: every day her daughters and grandchildren awake and face their days. Every day her remaining sister and I remember her words, her musical memories, her unique ways of looking at the world. Every moment we tolerate a spoiled pet because we have inherited the honor of receiving those special souls who get to be reincarnated as Sandy's cat.

I am not much for family chats on the phone, on holidays or otherwise, but today, with the luxury of her 78th birthday falling on a weekend, I called both of my nieces to check in and remind them that they, and their kids, were in our thoughts and prayers and that their mom would be- is- so immensely proud of the strong, independent women they've become.

Her last birthday was her 49th.  I've now passed that on my own calendar nine times and am heading for a tenth in November.  Two weekends from now, I will spend time with people I knew from 40 years ago; few of them ever met Sandy (being 21 years apart in age and school will do that), but all I speak to will know the importance of her to me, my family, and the person I've become.

Eleanor and I began the day taking Ebony to the dog park. We gardened, we watched BBC programmes, we had a Sunday dinner befitting so many Sunday afternoons I remember sharing with her.  And we celebrated a life that will always be celebrated in this world as long as her memories and DNA and the words from us continue.

And when the morning light comes streaming in,
I'll get up and do it again, Amen.
Say it again, Amen.

Half a Life.

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:27 pm
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Since I was in Bankruptcy Court at butt o'clock this morning, it only seemed right for me to do some math. (This, notwithstanding that one of our three district bankruptcy judges has admitted on the bench that he's lousy at math.)

When I got out, I saw some birthday posts for Eleanor on my Facebook feed.  She only joined recently, mainly to connect with one art-community friend, and we cautiously friended each other even more recently so she wouldn't get a scad of friend requests from bare past-life acquaintances I still keep in touch with from church and other places.  I always try to post something a little different and unique on peoples' birthday roundups, so this is what I thought of:

Your 32nd birthday I've shared with you. May it be among the best ever. I love you.

A little further math reveals the other "half" of that story. When you add up the years, I now realize that for more than half of the birthdays my beloved has ever had, I have shared them with her. They've had their ups and their downs, they've been shared with relatives and in restaurants, but the one constant has been what our wedding service referred to as "a love which shall endure." 

She's talking with Emily on the phone as I write this, and soon after we will head to a favourite Italian caffe for dinner and dessert.  It's cooled a bit after some monster t-storms came through this part of town (and possible tornadoes hit not far to the south), and tomorrow is the end of the workweek for both of us.

May the next 32 years of birthdays commence. I love you:)

Jul 19. Obsesional? Who, her?

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:34 pm
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[personal profile] warriorsavant
It will come as no surprise to my Gentle Readers that I'm a "wee bit" obsessional. Part is my medical training, part is my Army background, and part is, well, uh, just always been that way. Believe it or not, Evil Secretary is worse than I am.

Most of our billing is paperless/cashless via the Quebec Medicare system. There are some sundry charges. Even today, some people actually pay cash for them (ask your grandparents, younger generation), plus there's always some need for petty cash in an office, so we always need to have on hand a number of small bills. For time-to-time, when I'm at the bank, I pick up a packet of small bills. Banks usually give you the money all facing the same way, and ordered by denomination. (Although I've noticed they've been getting lazy about that "all facing the same way" thing. Bah humbug on modern life, those slackers.) One time, some years back, I'd dropped the envelope of neatly-arranged bills, and being a hurry, just stuffed them back in willly-nilly. When I got to the office and handed them to Evil Secretary, she accused me of deliberately messing up the order to play with her head. No, I didn't have the time to do that. She then immediately started to put them in order. At that time, Canada was in the middle of changing over the design of the bills, so there were two different versions of most denominations in circulation. I realized that she was not only facing them all alike, and putting them in order of denomination, she was separating the old and new billls of the same denomination. I laughed at her for that.
"Oh, like you don't in your wallet?" she asked indignantly.
"No."
"I don't believe you," she scoffed.
"Really."
"I don't believe you. Give me your wallet."
I handed her my wallet. She actually pulled all the money out of it, and rearranged it. She wasn't joking, it really bugged her that my wallet wasn't in the "proper" order. I almost fell on the floor laughing.

Today, I brought in another packet of small bills for petty cash (all $5's of current design). She grabbed it and started checking if it was in order, "good, you lined them up already."
"It came that way from the bank. What are you going to do now, put them in order of serial number?"
"No," she scoffed. A moment's quiet shuffling of paper. "Hey, they are in order of serial number." She was actually delighted - and yes, she had actually checked when I'd teased her.
I looked over the bills. They were sequentially numbered. They must have been from a series of new bills that were being put into circulation. Regardless, it actually made her day that the pettty cash was in perfect order for once.
Bwahahaha.

Back to Busy-Ness

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:11 pm
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After a largely off-things Saturday, yesterday began and ended early. Began at the dog park, where we met up, after the second go-round with Ebony and Ursula, with this beautiful grrl:

Well, four, counting Ann on the left and the traces of the pups on the ground

She just hopped up on that picnic table while our friend Dave, whose pup can't make it round twice, waited for us.  That tag is more of a chip, so we had no idea whose she was. Finally, we saw three people coming round with two dogs, and they called her over.... only to leave her at the entrance all over again as they headed down the path just as we were leaving.  Sheesh.

Once home, we turned our attention to things BBCish. News finally reached us of the casting of the first actress to portray The Doctor come next year; she looks like a worthy successor to the title.  Eventually, we got to the previous night's Orphan Black, which tied up some loose ends, opened a few other cans of clones, and of course kept us laughing every moment Krystal was on the screen. (Semi-spoiler: the bearded douche about halfway through the episode is played by Tatiana's IRL boyfriend, and she got to act two separate scenes in which Spoiler spoilered him in the spoiler- once as Krystal spoilering, the other as Sarah watching it.

Again this morning, I needed to be up and out very early for a day in Rochester- which concluded just before 2 with me finally getting one of my crazy real estate deals closed. Although they pushed every envelope, including not getting me the vital "how much to bring to the closing" figure until fewer than two hours remained before it, the session itself was quick and painless, the numbers all balanced, and the documents were all properly completed.  I think.

Rather than go back to either office, I opted for a scenic drive home, with two stops for out-of-the-way process service en route, maybe a 20-minute-south detour on Route 20 with the two about 10 minutes apart. Neither found their intended targets at home (and both were homes, despite the claims being against businesses), but at one, there was a sticker on the front door alerting first responders to be on the lookout for their seven dogs. No sign of them; at least they weren't left out on a picnic table outside:P

----

Before those errands, with little else to listen to in the hinterlands, I "treated" myself to the latest right-wing spin on the disastrous health care proposals now stuck in the Senate.  According to Limpbutt, millennials should be embracing the El Cheapo™ catastrophic plans that Senator Rafael "Dudley Do-Wrong of the Mounties" Cruz insists on being sold in exchange for his vote.  The pitch goes something like this: Millennials hate the cable companies, because they make you buy channels you don't want. They only want to stream the shows they DO want and they cut the cord on the rest. Well, health care is exactly the same. You should be free to buy only the services you want and not be forced to buy things you may not need and might never even be able to use (yeah, asshole, men and maternity care, we get it.)

The cynicism in this equivalence goes beyond meanness and straight into outright cruelty. Because OF COURSE deciding on the logistics and economics of covering yourself in the event of serious or potentially fatal illness is EXACTLY the same as wanting HBO and not SNY on your cable bill.  (Why, just last week Eleanor and I were trying to figure out whether a Roku or an Apple TV would deliver the best dialysis if we eventually need that. ) Oh, and worse? If a millennial does cut the cord but eventually decides he or she does suddenly need to start watching a channel they didn't originally order? The evil cable or satellite company will be more than happy to add it to your lineup for whatever it costs.  Not so under the Ryanide/McConnkill bait-and-switch currently in negotiation: if a healthy young person buys a "stripped down" plan and then discovers they need coverage for one of the "essential benefits" now required by the ACA?  Sorry, Charlie: that doesn't count as "continuous coverage," so you'll only be subscribing to the Pre-Existing Condition Channel as far as Republican Cable is concerned. You'll have to pay for that condition on your own for months or more until Mitch the Cable Guy can come out to your place and Git'R'Done.  (Even though, best as I can tell, he's Doin' his constituents already.)

----

Staying close to home, jiggity jog, the next three days. Only oddity of tomorrow is a meeting with a new referral who has the exact same name as one of my recent co-workers. 

Renovations: woodgrain and fantasy

Jul. 17th, 2017 03:18 pm
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[personal profile] warriorsavant
Part of the beauty of the house was the old woodwork. Well, once you stripped away a century of varnish and grime. You can really appreciate the depth and pattern of the woodgrain. Here's some of the doors (it's the end of the main hallway, powder room on the left, wardrobe on the right, which is the one with the more interesting woodgrain).

Picture 1 - long view )

Coming in a little closer, you can really start to appreciate the beauty of the woodgrain

A bit closer )

Coming in still closer, your mind's eye actually makes it look like imagines of something, like you "see" in tree grain, or clouds. (Sorry, this one's a little out of focus, but you can still get the impression.)

Closer still, your eyes play tricks on you. )

I think I mentioned that this is a wardrobe door. In fact, it's a double-ended wardrobe. One door opens to the front hallway, the other opens to the family room. So in fact, it's a wardrobe that is also a passage. Sound familiar?

Look again )

*Chuckle*


Angela Lansbury

Jul. 15th, 2017 08:16 pm
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[personal profile] warriorsavant
(Wrote this 2 months ago and forgot to post it.)
Read Rob Edelmar & Audrey E. Kupferberg's Angela Lansbury: A Life on Stage & Screen. I found it on the used book table maintained by the volunteers at JGH. Not bad, but a little prone to breathlessly discussing famous actors and such that Lansbury had interacted with, who are totally unknown to me.

Lansbury is perhaps best known for her role as Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV series Murder She Wrote, but her career spanned more than 70 years. I loved Murder She Wrote, but rather forgot about Lansbury when it went off the air. Then some years back, I saw a Broadway production of Blythe Spirit with CSM, WWC, and Dad. (Eight-ten years ago? Possibly posted about it then.) We frequently went to shows when CSM & I were in town for Army Reserve weekends, and picked Blythe Spirit for 2 reasons: WWC had been in an amateur production 20(?) years before that, and (b) Angela Lansbury! It was a rather low energy part, but she was in her 80's by then. Reading the Playbill, I realized that the first time Lansbury had been on Broadway was the year I was born.

She came from a family of actors and politicians, of English and Irish descent, later coming to the US (originally to avoid the Blitz in London). One the first fulltime performing gigs she had was a 6 week cabaret run in Montreal. She never played the ingénue, lacking classic beauty, but played just about everything else, from bit part to character actor to star, on stage, big screen, and TV. From all accounts received, as a person she was also a class act.
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I had three court appointments today. The clients proceeded, over the preceding 24 hours, to outdo themselves in stretching my patience and imagination into territory where it was hard to keep my CONTROL;)



In order of receipt of their excuses (and for ethical reasons, there will be some obfuscation here):

- Mother of Client 1, scheduled for what would have been a routine hearing in Buffalo late this morning. Called to tell me Client 1 would not be able to make it.  I checked with the guy running the hearing, who had already reviewed Client 1's file, knew it was no-brainer easy, and pretty much would have allowed something resembling a Weekend At Bernie's appearance if I could only get a body in the chair and a right hand raised in the air. Nope, didn't happen. We reconvene a week from next Wednesday if things have improved by then.

- Client 2, scheduled for an early afternoon hearing in Buffalo this afternoon. Not coming, either- death in the family.  Out of town arrangements.  Suffice it, the funeral is likely to be closed-casket. Yum. I attended that one (the hearing, not the funeral) with Client 2 in absentia. It did not go well, but at least we could take solace that it went even worse for the deceased.

-  That brings us to Client 3, who had the earliest (9 a.m.) and furthest (Rochester) of the three scheduled for today. That one sent an email after 6 last night to ask for a postponement because a car would not be available.  Having already gotten the other two bits of news, I insisted on going forward, even offering to provide the transport (since Client 3's residence is on my way into town and actually close to a place where Emily used to live).  We worked this out, and the hearing went fine.  It wasn't just a flat tire or some other inconvenience, but the sign of a marital breakdown. Making that worse, I'd also consulted with Client 3's spouse about a similar case- who I will not now be representing. It's not a technical conflict of interest but a visceral one- you don't treat people the way Client 3 got treated.  I got up stupid early, picked up C3 in plenty of time for another easy hearing, and even provided return transportation, given the circumstances.

The rest of the day was spent mostly on driving and on three separate real estate cases. Because I keep taking them on even though I work with people far more experienced at them and inherently draw cases with hosts of problems.

Sorry about that.

Ste Anne's. Mood sombre.

Jul. 13th, 2017 12:37 pm
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[personal profile] warriorsavant
I'm writing this during my lunch break on my monthly consulting at Ste Anne's (veterans hospital). It's effecting me today for some reason (coming down sick? kids fussy? not enough sleep? thinking about my dad? feeling my age? all of the above?)

I look often look at the page in the patients file that briefly mentions their wartime (WW II) service. One wrote laconically in a shaky hand, "43 trips to Germany in a Lancaster" (heavy bomber). That's 43 chances to die screaming, falling through the air with your body on fire. Others were on the ill-fated raid on Dieppe, or landed at Normandie. Enjoy your trip to the beach, every square inch has more guns targeted on it than any place ever in the history of the world. Don't worry about applying sunscreen, you won't live long enough to need it.

But they did live. Lived through a hell that makes my 32 years of service look like a walk in the park. Lived to become old, infirm, often demented, wearing diapers, unable to stand up unaided. Do I weep for their past and present, or my future, or for all of us. Sic transit gloria miles.

Adorableness #32516304

Jul. 12th, 2017 09:34 pm
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[personal profile] warriorsavant
Hedgefund is often slow to warm up to doing things. When she does do finally do something, we encourage and applaud her, "Bravo, Hedgefund, bravo!" I think it initially took me 15 minutes to teach/get her to go down a slide. Now she adores it. She also adores playing with rocks. Today she was on a kiddie slide, which like many such, had two slides next to each other. She was going down one while 'teaching' her rock to go down the other. When it 'successfully' reached the bottom, she praise it, "Bravo, rock, bravo!" She does have a strong nurturing side.
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[personal profile] captainsblog
* In our living room, yesterday morning:



The perils of online ordering; she's tried and tried to find a pair on zappos that fits, but they're always almost as big as she is;)

After that photo, I left for the first of what promised/threatened to be three weekdays this week in Rochester. Met two clients; missed a third; connected with a fourth after discovering that I'd been an idiot last week and not signed the check to him that was sent in payable to me late the previous week. Just as well: I needed to drop off a thank-you and gift card for the installer the client sent to our house last Friday.

----

* Hop hop!

Last night, I turned in a little earlier and slept in a little later (although Evil Cat-erwauling woke me up round 0300 and got her tossed in the garage until just about six). When I did leave, I had company on  our side lawn:



He barely moved while I zoomed in for that photo, or even after I began backing JARVIS out.  By day's end, we were joined  by a mama Oriole on our birdfeeder- lateish in the season for the likes of her, but lovely to see.

----

* Beasts at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Who shot JR? Himself, in the foot. By confirming the veracity of the Times' reporting of the email threads between him and Soviet agents, he essentially confirmed that Daddy was offered damaging oppo research from a foreign power and did nothing to deny or report it.

Their only reply? But her emailllllllssssssss!

But his impeachmmmmmentttttt!

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