Wednesday, January 28, 2009

still counting

One more year has come and gone and I'm still counting. Birthdays, that is. Today marks the 61st in that line of numbers. And I really don't feel a day older than, say, 59.

As they say, whoever they are, as long as you're still vertical you can keep counting. As long as you're still on this side of the grass, you're still in the game. The idea is to stay in the game and keep counting until the numbers reach three digits. I have a long way to go yet.

Still, reaching beyond 60 is something of an accomplishment. My father only made it to 58, so I have him beat. And there are advantages to being considered a "senior." Like discounts at restaurants and department stores. Movies, if you go to the matinee, are half price. The only drawback to those discounts is that you have to admit to being old enough to qualify for them. That's not much of a problem for me, but for those who are constantly chasing the fountain of youth it can be a tough admission. And even though I have a youthful disposition and nary a wrinkle to mark my years, my gray hair and beard and the cane I use to help me get around are dead giveaways to my senior status. So if I wanted to lie and shave ten years off my age, I would have to shave off my beard, dye what's left of my hair, and conquer PD so I could leave the cane at home and that's too much trouble to go to just to fudge a number.

Besides, I like to think that one more year in the count also enhances my status as a wizened and learned mentor and sage to the younger generations. But for whatever reason, they don't seem to be lining up at my door seeking my wise counsel. One of these days they will wake up and realize all the wisdom they are missing by not paying better attention to me.

In the meantime, let 'em eat cake. Birthday cake, that is. I'm willing to share that, too. Happy Birthday to me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Finally. Inauguration day is here. After eight years of criminal buffoonery, our country is in the hands of an intelligent and capable President.

I normally would not spend a lot of time watching an inauguration (in fact, I can’t remember the last one I paid any attention to), but today I was riveted to the TV, wanting to experience this historical event. Obama’s speech was moving, eloquent, and even profound at times. I can’t help this feeling of great anticipation for what he can do for our country. And judging from the reactions of people all around the country, I’m not alone in my confidence in the future.

I have to admit to having to stifle some emotion during the swearing-in ceremony. But I could barely keep from outright cheering when Dubya got on that helicopter that hauled his sorry ass back to Texas. Finally. If we never hear from him again it will be too soon.

So now we are finally embarking on the promised road to change. It will be a tough road with plenty of potholes along the way and with more than a few forks in the road. But we have been wandering off the road for so long now that just staying on the road to progress is going to be an improvement. The future is looking bright. I feel good.

Monday, January 19, 2009

next sculpture

This is another wall sculpture that I just completed. It is called The Other Side. It is the illustration of two divergent viewpoints, opinions, methods, and beliefs. The left side is an accumulation of elements joined in a seemingly haphazard arrangement. But taken together they present a common viewpoint that results from their joining together. The right side of the piece is made up of a series of elements in a strict, straight forward, regimented right angle arrangement that suggests a far more doctrinare attitude.

Here is a closer look.

Another look at a different section.

The sculpture is 40" long and about 9" wide and is made from a variety of woods.
I had thought of calling this piece "Red State Blue State," but didn't necessarily like the idea of politicizing the concept. I will leave that up to the viewer.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

new sculpture

While taking a break from making little boxes, I've been working on a couple new wall sculptures. This is one I call Landscape Triptych since it is a landscape in three parts.

It is made of various woods. Each panel is 12" round

These closeups show each panel in detail.

I'll have pictures of another new wall sculpture in a day or two when I have time to get them uploaded.
As usual, you can see more pictures of this piece and lots of others by clicking on "gallery" in the sidebar.

Monday, January 12, 2009

in praise of PT

For the past several months I have been irritated by a disc problem in my lower back. That compressed disc was impinging on my sciatic nerve causing some irritation and occasional pain to radiate down my right leg. Nothing too severe, but an irritation made more difficult to cope with on top of the daily intrusion of PD in my life.

So I sought the advice of my doctor who recommended some physical therapy to see if that would alleviate the problem, if not outright cure it. My good fortune is that I have a Physical Therapist I could turn to who has helped me in the past for other problems with this aging body.

Chris, my PT, has the knowledge and insight to go straight to the heart of the problem, explain in plain terms that even I can understand what that problem is and why it is a problem, and what she is going to do about it and what she expects me to do. And while she is quite compassionate and understanding about the role Parkinsons Disease plays in my life, she is not about to cut me any slack when it comes to doing the exercises and stretching that she has prescribed for me. A bit of tough love goes a long way.

The result is that now after three weeks of twice weekly sessions with her, the disc problem and resulting sciatica are no longer the daily irritant that they were before she took care of me. Of course it took several sessions on the rack, pulling my spine apart and stretching me from my previous 5”9” stature to my now 6’2” height to accomplish that. She called the process of strapping me down with leather bindings around my shoulders and hips to a movable table “traction.” I called medieval. Whatever you choose to call it, it worked. And while achieving that 6’2” height is still really just a dream, I am standing straighter so that my actual 5’9” looks better than before.

Once again, all I can say to Chris is thank you for being there to set me back on course, to make my life more tolerable and less painful. She, and many other Physical Therapists like her, are true miracle workers who can make our lives better. I don’t know what I would do without her.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

for the new year

The new year can be a challenge, an opportunity, or an exhaustion. So much depends on the attitude we bring to the new year and what our expectations are. Setting our sights too high can make the challenge we set for ourselves less of an opportunity and more a dive into the sinkhole of exhaustion.

That is why making new year’s resolutions is generally an exercise in frustration. The good intentions that form the basis for those resolutions set us up for the guilt that comes when we fail to uphold the promises we made. And as an adjunct to the whole resolution idea, it is always a good idea to keep those resolutions to yourself and not announce your intentions publicly. Public failure can be so much more painful than the private one you only have to acknowledge to yourself.

Why do we even feel the need to make those new year resolutions in the first place. Think about it—if we strive to live our lives as well as we possibly can every day of our lives, then we should have no need to try to remake ourselves every time the new year rolls around. If we are already living to the fullest, then there is no room for meaningless promises.

So while we should challenge ourselves everyday by taking advantage of the opportunities that come our way, there is really no need to add to the burden of daily living by laying on a layer of resolutions. Just live well and be satisfied with where you are and you will end up where you should be.