Saturday, May 28, 2022

Sunday Salon

I'm a little in love.  His name is Andy Carpenter. He's a defense attorney in New Jersey. He's got money, millions he just recently inherited, and that gives him the freedom to only take cases he believes in. He's also got baggage: an ex-wife. He has a smart mouth and a rebellious streak that gets him in trouble at times but endears him to me. Best of all, he's into rescuing and re-homing shelter dogs and can't go very long without mentioning his golden retriever, Tara.

Andy is the creation of David Rosenfelt, the centerpiece of a series of legal thrillers. I just started Book #3 in a series of 26 and counting. I enjoy them as much for Andy as I do for the courtroom drama. 

Before Andy there was Archie Goodwin. I had a mad crush on him. I know what Archie did for a living, but I'm not sure what to call his occupation. He worked for genius detective Nero Wolfe as ... appointment secretary, bookkeeper, and private investigator. He was as smart as he was versatile. Next to his photographic memory, his greatest gift was annoying people in positions of power. I loved how he genuinely loved women and could find something attractive in just about every female he met -- her shapely ankle or turned up nose or maybe a note he hears in her voice or an intelligence in her eyes. I wondered how he would describe me. 

Rex Stout gave me Archie. Robert Goldsborough took over the Nero Wolfe series in the 1980s and for the most part has maintained Archie's integrity and attitude.

Both Andy and Archie love baseball. I love baseball. Sigh.

What about you? Are there any characters from a continuing series that you especially enjoy spending time with?

Check out other Sunday Salon participants here.

Sunday Stealing

1. Who was the last attractive person you saw? 

Older but still handsome as all get out.

2. Do you have a tattoo? If not, are you going to get one? No and no.

3. Have you smoked a cigarette in the last 24 hours? I have never smoked anything.

4. Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance? Yes.

5. What is your favorite number? 7

6. What time did you go to sleep last night? I truly don't recall. Sometime between 10:00 and midnight.

7. Are you one of those people that always answer their phones? Unless I know it's spam.

8. If you died today would your life be complete? Well, yeah. Because it would be over. I'm sorry, but I'm not philosophical about these things.

9. If you are being extremely quiet, what does that mean? I'm asleep or dead. 

I am she and she is me.

10. Do you know what high school your dad went to? Yes. He recalled their most popular school cheer was: LTHS! Ooo ah! We're the best!

11. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach? Flying home from Los Angeles. Air travel always upsets me.

12. Where is your cell phone? Charging on the kitchen counter.

13.  What is the nearest purple thing to you? The cover of a notepad that's right over there.

14. When did you last step outside? What were you doing? I went out for a slice of pizza. It's such a beautiful day. I didn't want to go back indoors.

15. What is the last thing you watched on TV? The Cubs game. We won!



Still feeling hopeful

My dear friend Henry remains at a medical center that specializes in "behavioral health." Aka the looney bin. His 72-hour, legally-mandated stay began at 9:45 Wednesday night. So under normal circumstances, he should be released tonight. But he won't be. Between the weekend and the Memorial Day holiday, he will likely remain a patient until Tuesday morning. 

Thinking of him there, frightened and confused and angry, was breaking my heart. But his husband, Reg, reports that while Henry is lonely and like ET, tries to phone home constantly, he is comfortable and NOT insisting on being released. While it would be a stretch to say Henry likes being in this medical facility, he is not trying to escape, as he has when hospitalized in the past (first after his accident, then after a series of seizures caused by his TBI). This is not what Reg was expecting. A compliant Henry who is not fighting the doctors scares Reg. Not me. What Reg sees as Henry drifting away from us, I see as Henry cooperating with his own care. 

I have spent many therapy sessions talking about Henry with my own shrink. Usually in the context of how I'm handling all this. I love Henry very much and I feel helpless. Anyway, she supports my optimism. Henry's mental fog is definitely caused by the TBI, but it's been exacerbated by lifestyle choices that have left him depleted physically and emotionally. Since April 2021, when he lost his job at the library, Henry has indulged in too much alcohol and his days have not had enough structure. He hasn't received regular MRIs (or any MRIs) and his medications have not been calibrated for his changing condition. He's dehydrated. He's weak. He may have a UTI. 

I also suspect that his hearing and vision aren't what they could be. After all, he's 59 and these things begin to fade. Since he doesn't drive, he hasn't had his eyes or ears checked in years. I wonder if his sense of isolation and frustration isn't made worse by not only having a TBI but also compromised sight and hearing. 

So now he's spending almost a week in the hospital, getting the care I believe he should have been getting all along. He will be dried out and monitored. He'll have an MRI and his treatment will be adapted. 

I'm not stupid. I know this might break the other way. I also understand that even if Henry gets a positive prognosis, he's looking at an intensive outpatient program and then months, maybe years, of therapy.

That's OK. I'm buckled in. I'm staying with Henry as long as this takes. Whatever this takes.


Saturday 9

 Saturday 9: America, the Beautiful (1987)

Unfamiliar with Barbra Streisand's recording of this tune? Hear it here.

Memorial Day is the federal holiday designated to honor American service people who died in battle. 

1) Memorial Day was introduced after the Civil War. War memorials, as well as graves of veterans, are to be decorated with flags and flowers this weekend in a show appreciation. Is there a war memorial in your neighborhood? Here's one from Chicago's River Walk that often gets overlooked by tourists on their way to an outdoor cafe or kayak rental. Behind the fountain are the names of the 3,000 Illinois kids who died in Vietnam. It's enough to break your heart, isn't it?

Chicago Remembers Those We Lost in Vietnam

2) Here at Saturday 9, we regard everyone who served -- veterans and active military -- as heroes. Have you, or has anyone in your family, worn the uniform of our armed forces? We want to hear about them. 
•  My dad was a Navy corpsman during the Korean conflict. He learned how to apply and then carefully remove butterfly stitches. I was always proud when he saved one of the neighborhood kids a trip to the ER after a playground scrape. 
•  My favorite uncle was an Army PFC in Vietnam. While he was over there, he donated his time to an orphanage in Saigon. Oh yeah, and he was exposed to Agent Orange and rewarded with myriad health problems, resulting in his early death at age 69. The Veterans Administration was a dismal disappointment. George W. Bush was President while my uncle was getting the runaround, so don't tell me that because a politician has an R after his name he supports the troops. I know better. My uncle has been gone 12 years now, and I'm still angry.

3) Memorial Day is the traditional kick off of the summer season. Have you packed away your winter clothes yet? I will this weekend. Honest.

4) What's your favorite picnic food? Potato salad.

5) As you answer these questions, is there a fan or an air conditioner cooling your room? At this very moment, no. But I've seen the weather report and am confident I will go from fan to a/c by Monday.

6) Lyricist Katharine L. Bates said she was inspired to write "America, the Beautiful" after a trip to Pike's Peak. What's the most beautiful spot in America that you have ever visited? It's hard to pick one. As a nation, we're so blessed! However, as a proud Illinois girl who loves our favorite-most favorite son, I'll go with this view.

It's beautiful, and of course, he deserves no less

7) Though we're talking summer this morning, Santa is going to get a shoutout. Before "America, the Beautiful" was published, Katharine L. Bates wrote a poem called, "Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh" which is remembered for introducing Santa's wife, Mrs. Claus. Share a fond memory of the 2021 holiday season. I had Christmas lunch with Henry, Reg and Patrick at Key West's Bistro 245. Wasn't the view lovely?

That's the Gulf of Mexico

8) This week's featured artist, Barbra Streisand, sang "America, the Beautiful" during a benefit concert. She admitted to James Corden that she suffers from stage fright and before she performs, she prays, "Let go, let God." What's something that scares you, but that you do anyway? Air travel.

9) Question for a weekend when many of us will sleep in: Are you a morning person? Less with each passing year.