Sunday, August 29, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 29

Today's happiness -- My neighbors' sunflowers. I live next door to a childrens' home. The backyard is a playground filled with bikes, a sandbox and a tree house. And today I noticed their big, beautiful sunflowers are blooming. They're tall and they look like they're smiling, and I find myself smiling back.

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.

Good Henry, Bad Henry

Sometimes,  Henry can be very sweet. That's how I know my old friend is still in there somewhere. Sometimes he can be a rampaging asshole. Like yesterday. 

He called me on my cell, not my landline. It was charging in the kitchen and I couldn't get to it in time. I listened to his voicemail: "Just me, checking on you." Nothing specific, nothing seemed wrong, so I didn't return the call. I figured he was just bored and probably found someone else to call.

A few minutes later he called back on my cell. I picked up. He began by ranting about his phone. He could not "find" my landline number and he wanted to throw the phone against the wall. That's his TBI talking. It's the same phone he's had for ages. Sometimes his brain just doesn't work as it should.

I told him it was OK, it was all good. We connected, that's all that mattered.

He wanted to know what was going on in my life. Silly me, I believed he actually wanted to know. Remember, I thought was this one of his, "Reg is asleep and I'm bored" calls.

So I told him how my aunt was suffering after her knee replacement. How I was worried about her because she had to choose between pain or the severe gastrointestinal discomfort the pain meds give her.

"Yes. I understand. I have that all the time," he said dismissively."I am so ..."

"No, you do not know what she's going through," I said. I will not infantilize him. "They have never cut you open, removed part of knee and replaced it with metal!" I was upset that he was diminishing her pain and my worry. 

"No, that is true," he admitted. I told him about her surgery and he responded with:

"OK, this is why I am upset." He'd obviously been waiting for me to stop talking about her so we could talk about him.

I was now sorry I picked up. I know how these calls go. Henry is in a rut about how bad his life is. There is no getting him out of this, no matter how I hard I try. All I can do is try to slow his hysteria.

He hasn't been like this -- with his mind stuck immovably on one track -- since Spring 2020. Then, like now, he wasn't working and didn't have a schedule to ground him.

I know he can't help it, but it's scary and tiring to talk to him when he's like this. I wish that, instead of "Henry," my caller ID would indicate if it was "Good Henry" or "Bad Henry."

Sunday Stealing


1. Are you a Jeopardy fan?  Who do you want to replace Alex Trebek? Clearly the correct answer is Jonathan Lawson. He's already replaced Alex on the Colonial Penn commercials.


2. What’s your favorite horror film? Psycho. It's a beautifully made film on just about every level. So many horror movies are slapdash, or depend on blood and gore while Psycho is all about the suspense.

3. Are you a possessive person? In my own way.

4. Who’s your idol? JBKO. She was a very strong woman who endured more than anyone should -- an alcoholic father, 5 difficult pregnancies in 10 years (but she only brought 2 babies home), wiping her husband's brains off her face and then mourning for the nation on the world stage, her baby sister's cancer, her mother's Alzheimer's, her own battle with cancer -- and she did much of it in the public eye, with people judging her. She never explained and she never complained. She lived her life on her own terms and at the time of her death, she was a grandmother and a successful book editor and loyal companion to a man who loved her. She was triumphant.

5. List five things you can’t live without. Coca cola, chocolate, TV, the internet, air conditioning

6. Where do you feel home? Anyplace with
Coca cola, chocolate, TV, the internet, air conditioning.

7. What are your three best qualities? I'm loyal, honest and funny.

8. Name three things that make you happy. My cats, my books, old movies on TV

9. What helps you when you’re feeling down?
My cats, my books, old movies on TV

10. Which big cities have you been to? Chicago, Los Angeles,
Washington DC, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Tampa, San Francisco, Toronto, Paris, Munich, Honolulu, Las Vegas ...

11. What’s your favorite lovestory? (Book, film, etc. ) Holiday. It takes Cary Grant an awful long time to realize he should be with Katharine Hepburn. It's an achingly romantic movie about finding that person who really gets you, and this sweet kiss on the cheek is all that happens between my favorite lovers until the final frame. If it wasn't for my pesky job, I'd watch it every day.


12. Talk about the best concert you ever attended. Paul McCartney at Wrigley Field. My favorite person, my favorite music, my favorite place.

13. What’s one thing you don’t ever want to change? My cat Reynaldo. He's 17 now, entering the end of his life. I wish I could make him young again.

14. What scares you? People who are horrified -- HORRIFIED, I TELL YOU! -- by the 13 service members who died in Kabul but don't want to talk about the 6 who died during the Trump-incited riot on January 6. A sitting American President encouraged citizens to take over the Capitol. Think about that. The death of our troops is always tragic and I do not diminish what happened in Kabul. Not in any way. But a terror attack led by a sitting President, Americans killing Americans, that's some scary shit. I'm glad Trump's gone and only wish he would stay gone. I hear he was on Fox this week, ripping on President Biden for the airport attack (and Biden accepts responsibility). Did Fox ask him about Officer Brian Sicknick? Yeah, tell me again how Blue Lives Matter. So yes, the MAGA crowd scares me. There's no reason, no logic, no patriotism. Just grievance and hate. And they wrap themselves in my Christian faith. Shudder. (Hey! You asked!)

15. What are three things you want to do before you die? I don't do these questions. Sorry. It's like a bucket list.