So, today was a Thursday with no chemo. No Mike and Judy getting up early and stumbling out of the house when it is still dark outside. Mike says it is like being on vacation today. If this is what retirement is like, he could get used to it. He and Judy went for a walk today at the bluebird sanctuary. He also has read, vacuumed, cleaned a toilet, went to the post office, paid bills, had lunch with a friend, and gone to the store. I avoided all of these activities, devoting myself mostly to napping and occasionally shifting my position slightly. Bluebirds could be interesting, though. He and Judy are going out for dinner later, and to get bagels. Mike’s niece, Sharona, is coming tomorrow from Seattle for a quick visit. This will be a treat. We are crazy about Sharona, and all of the nieces and nephews. Yesterday Mike’s staff surprised him with a retirement party. It would have been a bigger surprise had he not been standing next to Judy’s phone that morning when it made that notification sound. He glanced over at the phone where the reminder said “retirement party.” “What could that be, I wonder?” he thought. Not really. But the lack of complete surprise didn’t diminish his enjoyment at all. Many of his colleagues came to his office at noon. He got presents, lunch, cake, cards, hugs, and a lot of love. Judy brought me to the party, knowing full well that I wanted to come, and deserved to be there. Michelle took pictures, but I was off snooping at the time, so no pictures of me to show you. But I will post some pictures maybe next week, if they are available. I saw Mike get a little red-eyed at one point. It was kind of sweet. Mike is not completely retiring, but he is closing his practice and referring all of his patients out to other doctors. He will continue his work as Medical Director at the Berman Center. This won’t keep him busy more than 1-2 half days per week. He says he is going to spend his time reading, writing, working in the yard, cleaning out the basement, going to lectures, and taking up golf again. He will also get more involved in the community support groups that he attends, and see more of his friends. Most importantly, he and Judy will get more time to be with each other. They are really cute when they are together.
Mike just finished a book that Michelle got for him, maybe for his birthday. I don’t exactly remember. It is by Terrence Hayes, and is entitled “To Float in the Space Between,” and subtitled “A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight.” It is a signed copy to Mike by the author. Very cool. On the other hand, Mike was only barely understanding a lot of it. He does not easily navigate the world of literary criticism, and most of the authors and poems mentioned in the book Mike has not read. The book purports to be an analysis of Knight’s poem, “The Idea of Ancestry,” written, I believe while Knight was in prison. Knight’s heroin addiction made a mess out of his life. Mike says he isn’t very good at understanding poetry which seems to be a form of expression which uses words to hint at what the writer is trying to say, instead of actually just saying it. But then, if the writer just says it, it is no longer a poem. Or so it seems.
Hayes very early in his book makes reference to “Pale Fire”, a novel by Vladimir Nabokov. He suggests that his book will be similar in the sense that while writing an analysis of Knight’s poem, “The Idea of Ancestry,” he will be talking mostly about himself and his own life. You may never have read “Pale Fire”. It is a novel structured as a 999 line poem by a poet he calls John Shade. The final 1000th line has not been written, ostensibly because the author was murdered before he could complete the poem. Naming him Shade is his first clue that there is no real John Shade, as a shadow has no substance. Following the poem is extensive commentary by a man, Charles Kinbote, who says he was Shade’s across the street neighbor. By the time of the novel, Shade has been murdered, and Kinbote has taken possession of his manuscript. Kinbote interprets the entire poem to be about himself, and broadly hints as he delves into his commentary that he is the exiled king Charles of Zembla. Mike says he was a third of the way through the book before he figured out what what happening. The novel is in Time magazine’s list of the best 100 novels. It has been the subject of very extensive commentary. In Mike’s opinion, the entire novel is a farce in which Nabokov is playing a complex intellectual game with his readers. There is no John Shade, no Charles Kinbote, no Zembla, no poem, no nothing. Mike is going to give the book back to Michelle, at least for now, for her to read. It is right in her area of study, the Black Arts movement. Now that Mike has all the time in the world he might read more poetry and expand his mind some. I won’t say that he needs the mental exercise, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt him any.
The computer guy is coming Saturday. Once he finishes setting us up I will be able to post pictures again. I have 3 from the party that I want to put up, and we have some of our frogs at the bug buffet on our front stoop. One of the frogs, Gerald, got into the house a couple of years ago and took up residence under the toilet seat. Michelle was house sitting for us at the time. Let’s just say that the first time she saw Gerald on the toilet she acted quite surprised. If Gerald was surprised she couldn’t tell. Personally, I give frogs all the space they want. I do enjoy listening to them at night, though. My favorite is the Cope’s Gray Tree Frog. Go on line and listen to a You Tube recording. You might like it.
So, the ducks and geese that congregate on Richard Donkle’s pond are getting ready for their political convention. With all the news about the Democrats and their many presidential candidates, and all the candidates for lesser offices of both parties, they want to join in the excitement. I was over there earlier today. Donald Donck seems to be emerging as the party candidate. I was talking with Waldo, the spokesgoose for the Fowl party. He says Donald has changed his name from Donald Duck to avoid confusion with the Disney duck. Waldo says one of the issues to be decided is just what office Donald D. will run for. Stay tuned.
Well, that’s all from Happy Meadows for now, except to say that I started this blog 2 days ago, so it is now Saturday. Sharona is here, and we are enjoying out visit muchly. Have a fun and safe holiday weekend. Pray for yourselves and your loved ones. Say extra prayers, please, for our friends Norm, Nancy, and Brenda. Bye, Bye!