Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday

The prayer flags in the front yard, sending out good vibes for peace and freedom

The Baby in the Garden
and assorted other garden shadows

This one is not of my yard but across the river in the town of Gill
taken on the same day as the others.

Later this afternoon, in the family room: the shadow from a carved wooden screen on the closet door in the family room.

Happy Shadow Sunday, thanks to our hostess Tracey at

Pictures of my Day

Looking out across from Gill at the other side of the river, which is the town of Turners Falls.

as always, click to enlarge

It was really cold out today but sunny with pretty, puffy clouds in the sky. It was probably in the low 20's but with wind chills of I'm guessing -20. Especially down by the river where some of these pictures were taken.

I hope you enjoy them and that you're having a good weekend.
I'm thinking today of how many kind people I've met through blogging. Thank you to Cunning Runt, Bobbie, Dianne, Steve, Susan, Linda, Betmo, Mark, Liberality, Sherry, Lisa, Ed, Kenju, Singing Bear, Maithri, Libhom, homeyra, Ben, Mary, and I hope I didn't forget anyone.

You make blogging worthwhile.

Namaste, my friends

Across the river in the town of Gill

Icicles off a building in North Franklin County

The River as seen from the front of our house. When this picture was taken, we'd just been looking at two bald eagles alighting on and off on the frozen river water. I imagined they were skating and having fun. They seemed to my imagination to be cavorting. But this panoramic view puts these large birds outside of my ability to photograph with the dinky camera I have.

A farm in North Franklin County

The Chimney

Another corner of the house

Icicles off our house, in the backyard

Lamps inside the country restaurant where he had lunch. Fried scallops sandwich with french fries and cole slaw. My favorite American food. Second only to a wholebelly clam sandwich. Yum.

How did you all spend your daylight Saturday hours?

Warning: Rant Ahead

But it's not about politics. Well, sort of. It's about the politics of being a victim of the American medical system. I'm healthy, so I know it could be worse, but I'm livid over my first physical with my new doctor.

First a little background. As I said I've enjoyed very good over-all health all of my life. My visits to a doctor have been mostly limited to annual physicals and one pesky ailment: chronic UTIs (urinary tract infections), which are not unusual in women because our urethra is so close to the vaginal opening, causing bacteria to creep into our sweet spot and make us miserable. If you've had a UTI, you will understand how exasperating it can be - it's not only pain but a type of discomfort that makes me, anyway, feel like I want to crawl out of my skin. I will take a toothache any day over a bladder infection.

My gynecologist, Dr. P, and her entire staff are absolutely wonderful. But because UTIs are not considered a gynecologic issue, they cannot treat them. The primary care physician is charge of my urethra and bladder.

I had the same primary care physician for over 15 years - Dr. L. , who was a really, really good guy. He listened and he partnered well with me when I pushed an issue. He retired two years ago and I was assigned to one Dr. Smith, a very young doctor who could multi-task like nobody's business and always seem to hear what I said even if he had his nose in his tiny computer and was tap, tap, tapping away on it. This young doctor, for the first time in my medical history, prescribed for me an antibiotic that I could fill ahead of time in anticipation of a future UTI. It was a quick run - six pills in all, and after the first day of treatment, the symptoms were gone. And, I could refill it several times before seeking another prescription. So no more having to wait until morning to call the doctor, missing work to go in for a urine sample, getting the prescription filled and waiting for it to kick in. Beautiful. I loved Dr. Smith. Well, Dr. Smith beat feet back to Ohio where he came from.

I am now assigned to a certain Dr. R, another very young doctor with the bedside manner of an icicle. They didn't teach herhow to smile in medical school, apparently. She asked all the right questions but didn't want to hear any elaborations. Sensing this immediately and disliking it, I turned a bit passive-aggressive and gave her longer answers than she wanted. This caused her to cut me off and tell me that "I need to talk now", rather rudely, I might add (for which she apologized later). I may have deserved it, I'll admit it but even though I admit to doing it, it is my nature to be detailed when discussing most things. In fact, I'm very articulate when speaking, particularly on issues that I know and understand well: in this case, my body and my health. Well, Dr. R would have none of this.

Now what I'm really fired up about is this: you know that great preventative UTI treatment that the wonderful Dr. Smith prescribed for me? I told her about it and she refused to continue it! That is what I'm so pissed off about. She told me the following: "I cannot do for you what I will not do for my other patients." To which I replied politely: "But every patient is different, with different needs and this has worked extremely well for me. Due to this treatment, I have not suffered for hours or missed work because of a UTI." She would not budge.

I'm now back to the dark ages again with the UTI situation. When I have symptoms, she expects me to call her office, come in for a urine test and get a prescription.

Dr. Smith had explained to me how archaic this was and why, while he tap-tapped on his tiny laptop, with the toes of his polished wingtips peeking out from behind his very neatly pressed rayon trousers. He said that a urine test will almost always reveal one of two possible types of bacteria that cause such infections and that the antibiotic he prescribed took care of either. So why put a woman through the agonizing postponement of treatment? Dr. Smith, why did you have go away???

I've been really angry over this. Firstly, Dr. R's manner and condescension. Her message was clear - you're the patient and you don't know anything and I'm the doctor who will lord over your body because I know best.

Needless to say, I'm going shopping for another doctor. Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Freaky Outsider Art

Outsider Art
Nova Scotia Style

I came upon this set of photos while searching for one to fit the theme "surprised" for a most fun and challenging photo meme called Thematic Photographic, on the blog Written Inc., most graciously hosted by Carmi. That's a long sentence I just inflicted on you. Sorry.

I'd mostly forgotten about these pictures. We saw this collection of life-sized sculptures scattered all over the front lawn and across the road in a lot, from a humble cottage on a highway bound for Halifax.

click photos to enlarge
(if you dare)

There were many more, at least twenty in all...

but we avoided photographing the ones closest to the house...

uncertain as to who could have come out to talk to us or chase us away.

We saw nary a soul, so we ran across the highway and were surprised by this gal whose expression suggests she is just as surprised to see us.

I wonder if it had anything to do with Merman, though he looks docile enough.

Thoughts, please! And captions, if you've a mind. :-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Is It Real?

Do we really have a new president? I'm still pinching myself. I have a lot to say and not much time to say it in. I'm very busy for the next several days, with blogging consisting of mostly pre-done photo posts on the Pagan's Eye.

I feel pride and even a touch of patriotism - not the rah rah my country right or wrong type, because I'll never be that style of patriot. But I feel proud to be an American. Being the child of immigrants, the Obama story touches me deeply.

I liked what he said about unclenched fists. I hope our own American fist will begin to open into a hand that can be identified by the world as one that seeks to help.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bookworm Meme

Susan has tagged me for a bookworm meme that includes this racy badge, which makes it all that much more fun!

Am I a bookworm? I don't read nearly as much as when, as a child, I earned the title, but I'm surrounded by books both at home and at work, which is an elementary school. Books have played a tremendous role in my life as the shapers of values, ideals, ideas and common sense. I credit my appetite for books with helping shape an art and literature lover whose experiences were not vast due to the limits of a Portuguese immigrant upbringing.

When I think about my love of books and reading and learning, I invariably think of my father, who died in 2005. He was a working class, immigrant man with a veracious appetite for reading. While his English was far from perfect, even after having lived in the U.S. for 20 years, he read three U.S. dailies from cover to cover, as well as books in Portuguese and French.

I recall family shopping trips to the local Mars department store, where in the toy department, I would seek out these cheap, hardbound copies of children's classics, which I would ask my father to buy for me to which he would almost always oblige. Some of these included Heidi, Little Women and Gulliver's Travels. I've managed to hang on to the ragged copy of Heidi, which I must have read at least 25 times.

Now, you may think that reading Heidi was a nine-year-old isn't very sexy but I had a hell of a crush on Peter, the goat keeper! ;-) Besides, before I knew it I had graduated to D.H. Lawrence!

Okay. Now for the rules of the meme. If you play, you are instructed to find a nearby book, turn to page 46, select the fifth sentence and type if out, including subsequent sentences. I interpret this to mean that whatever after the fifth sentence makes sense, should be included.

Like Susan, I picked up a couple of handy books that didn't quite work out. One was a book of the artwork of Nick Bantock, the creater of the Griffin and Sabine books, but the pages were not numbered and there is very little text. The other was a book I just bought at The Book Mill where I also ran into the problem of not enough text on the page due to the art plates. Finally, I resorted to grabbing a random book among several that were on top of one stack on a bookshelf:
Wintering by Kate Moses, a fictionalized account based on documented events and the work of Sylvia Plath. The book chronicles Plath's last six months living in a London flat before she killed herself, as well as weaving in and out of the pasdelving into much of what may have gone on during the period when Plath wrote Ariel, the last collection of her work. It's a beautifully written novel, clearly written by a scholar who both appreciated and understood Plath's work.

Here we go.

In truth, they are moving eagerly on, their life telescoping out fromthis claustrophobic walk-up; what does it matter to them who takes their exiguos flat? But surprisingly, it does.

"Hullo?", Sylvia says, elbows on the kitchen table, her free hand fingering her braided bun. "Assia, this is Sylvia Hughes - "

Her voice carries through the apartment, moving over it lightly, like a fine mist. It settles over the painted floors and glossy molding that traces the rooms. " - you'll have to visit us there. It's Ted's dreamscape. Our own Avalon, complete with apple trees and the bones of pagans."

Is reading sexy?

You can play too, just let me know if you do, so I can read your post.

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr.

If you've never heard the song Black Man by Stevie Wonder, you really should click on the jukebox. It says a lot.

We've come a long way, certainly, but we live in a nation where facade is everything in politics and it hides the work that still needs to be done before all people are treated with justice and dignity.

Black Man

Stevie Wonder
Songs in the Key of Life

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