Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh, Dear...

There of levels of news...........the first being that my old, beloved G4 received a death notice yesterday because Apple doesn't any longer make parts. This is hard to deal with in the short term and the long term. My photos are captive on it, so I don't have any for this entry and what's an entry without images?

The bigger problems is that my programs that run Photoshop and Finalcut Pro are old and not supported by any newish computer. I've rejected the idea of a new IMAC, having been warned against the shiny screen. The mini, which seemed like a solution for a while, won't run something or other that I need. It's possible to get a refurbished MAC that will tolerate some of the programs I need. They have two possibilities, but it's still all up for grabs, though an informed, informative fellow spent an hour thinking about possibilities and looking up how compatible programs are for me at the Computer Loft in Allston. My needs are minimal, but specific. It's very, very confusing and will take quite a bit of time to figure out. My learning curve is questionable so I'm trying to minimize what I have to learn.... and what I have to buy.

This news comes on top of having had my teeth cleaned an hour earlier. The hygenist, a woman who has managed my teeth for 20 years, finally got a dentist into the room, luckily someone who isn't excessively charming and isn't condescending. This mild fellow, who looked like he might have once played football, used a phrase like nural pathways which I found comforting. But I have four teeth that need work. The only one I'd let him talk about was the worst. After his description -- place a post, periodontal work, a fake tooth, four months waiting for the bone to build around the post, all for around $5,000 -- I considered walking in front of a bus.

My father reached the point where he refused to darken the door of a dentist, but actually I don't think that's a good idea. My problem is figuring out how to pay for this now that I've cleverly given up my part-time teaching. Dental insurance is almost insulting in the amount it covers. Perhaps the problem is going to high grade Boston dentists who charge three times the amount insurance will pay for, but there you go.

At this point, I'm only dealing with the worst, most expensive tooth. By dealing with I mean, thinking about....not acting on.

But it's a cool morning. I took Tulip, AKA Turnip, to the groomer at 7 (here is the description of the picture I took before handing her over .... imagine this small thing that looks sort of like a beige tinged with darker brown, a bit of black here and there, fur throwrug with bangs that cover her eyes, a black nose and a double bottom row of tiny teeth....) and have two hours to sit here in Panera listening to a young cop talking about his potential heart problems that will ruin his career, and the level of pain that he has along with shortness of breath, sleeplessness and a lot of other plaguing symptoms.

Yesterday I mucked out a stall at the track, progress in my physical regime of rebuilding myself. The good news is that the doctor agreed that I'm 80-90% better. That is good news.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Mugs and Greta

Sally came to visit and somehow I got her into my bad habit of going to Starbucks in the morning, getting a stamped receipt and returning in the late afternoon for a cold $2.00 drink, any choice. I am going broke over this offer, enjoying it thoroughly and happy to have an accomplice.

One Starbucks is near a complex that has a fine park and often has Greta, a 4 month old Dachshund that this couple got off line from somewhere -- like Tennessee. I've gone nuts for Greta who is quite docile and extremely beautiful.

Tulip, my big idea because Bogie is ten and I thought Krissy was leaving for NY and had no idea I'd get sick as a dog, came from a site in Georgia and she has been no end of trouble. I know that I should have taken her to the training classes that a good friend offered me, but it reminded me too much of when my ex and I got Bogie and took him to endless training so that he became a therapy dog. So, I didn't put the energy into training her and besides, Krissy can't stand it when a dog is kept behind a gate in the kitchen, etc., so whatever work I tried to do, she undid with some sly comment about my cruelty.

However, when I got sick, Krissy and Chris relieved me and Bogie of her company which was a very good thing. She scared the bejesus out of Bogie just by looking at him, and more especially lying in wait on the bed, about to spring as he stood cowering in the doorway. I just couldn't manage this when I couldn't manage anything. Krissy refers to Tulip as Melissa's dog and I pretend not to hear her. I have not yet taken her back and Bogie is very relieved. In fact, I have named her Turnip. Chris doesn't think she's too smart and both of them think she'd be a perfect dog for someone in an office because she makes a big show of a brief greeting and then retires under a desk, sleeping happily. She does like car rides and walks. Sally calls her Polyester which leads to the name of Carpet.

At any rate, Tulip fell in love with Greta, racing like mad with her. after her, over her. It was lovely to see her in an element in which she shone because of Greta's charming presence. Happy on the other hand would have easily taken off her head if she could have and Bogie, not given to much display, growled if she got close.  I have a new camera, Canon G11, and couldn't stop photographing the goings-on which provoked me into trying to import them and sizing them for this, thanks to Greta, I advanced myself slowly into knowing a bit more how this camera operates. Now I have to figure out how to get RAW images.

I am distracting myself with this because Sally took a look at my attic, let out a gasp and then informed me of the damage I am doing by having negatives and archival prints in all that heat. I should have known this, she said, before we started to strategize how to get them downstairs into a room that is, at least cooler. I am actually beyond embarrassment about the clutter, the endless boxes and too tired to have much distress about the damage I might have done to my work. 

But Krissy is determined to help me cart them down here and turn my bedroom into a storage room. We can't do all this before Wednesday night when Sally returns, but can at least make a bit of a show. When I told Krissy what Sally said about how careless (read destructive) it is to have not protected my work, she said, "Well, you've done a number of destructive things about it over the years," meaning stuff I didn't follow through with or rejected or walked away from in my casual, sometimes high principled, nuts-o way.

Sally also convinced me, after she got my mourning about not teaching run-through, that learning to teach ESL at this point is counter productive.

It probably would be.

She took a wonderful photograph of me to prove how much weller I am which I will put on the next blog. Right now I can't unlock the webloc. 

It's been a wonderful visit -- beach, garden, restaurants, nighttime at Revere Beach, tasks set for the future. We'll go rowing on Wednesday when she comes back for the night and next morning before flying out.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


A friend said that it's alright, as in normal, to mourn for a job. And I am. It was always the right place for me, even though there were times when I wasn't the right person for the department. But the students were so interesting -- often first in their families to go to college, or immigrants who had or hadn't entirely learned this language or foreign students who were in an entirely new and sometimes very strange culture.

It was perfect for my shy nature because I was in the role of instructor, taking care of a group, like a sheepdog, circling around, hoping to nip a bit at the heels to provoke more work, working harder, thinking more, trying to provide a congenial environment so that they would all talk with each other, exchange ideas.

I liked that urban university much more than I had like teaching at MIT where everyone was fiercely overachieving. Failure was not an option. And, though I hate to admit it, failure is something to learn from.

Anyway, it's over. I left on principle, regretfully. Very regretfully. The courses I'd been so comfortable teaching, darkroom work, now incorporated digital imagery with which I'm not familiar enough to feel comfortable especially without enough equipment. Oh, it was a rational decision. Made from my high horse and with lots of philosophical stuff thrown in. And now, of course, my dreams, night time dreams and early morning thoughts, are about getting back there. This is, I gather, part of the mourning.

So, the next issue is what I'll do with the next ten years. I think I was there, trying to think about that before the ulcerative colitis slapped me down. But enough of this. 

Romeo is quite a fine rabbit who belongs to Sammy's daughter. He is from Peru and has the stalls down from Monica's so I get to talk to him. In his country, he says, he'd have a cigarette now and then, after dinner or some occasion like that, but once he got here, he was smoking three packs a day. "They put something in them. You need that cigarette. You really need it. I didn't need it in my country." He was working three jobs, or sometimes one job that took 14 hours a day because help was so hard to find. He made good money, but he paid out so much in taxes that it was crazy. He was overworking, exhausted and smoking. But his daughter said, "Papa, I smell smoke on your clothes. Why are you smoking? I want you to live." So, he quit, no patches, no lozenges, no gum. He quit. He's still convinced that tobacco companies put something extra in cigarettes to make people so dependent and desperate.

My computer has started fussing, just after I'd printed two months of the 2008-2009 daily self-portrait series. And the monitor went pink and the images went blue. And I never know how to solve these problems. The last thing I want is a new computer (expensive!) if it doesn't work exactly the way this one does...Right now I do not want the learning curve of learning upgraded programs. But we don't always get what we want, it says here in fine print.

Anyway, again apologies for my laxness at reading other blogs...
and thanks to whoever reads this...