Friday’s 5 things: aging, dogs, Eggers, the anniversary, and a pirate movie

– Most of you know (broken record) that I’ve been injured, which is to say I’ve barely run in the past three months.  There’s been weight gain, general weepiness, and a semi-conscious retreat from life.  Alternate exercise has caused pain also.  First, I thought it was simply a chiropractic issue and after Dr. Greg adjusted me, all would be well.  After two visits, I felt better but only by half.  I continued to rest and stretch a bit and finally went to the doctor, telling him I thought it was ITB syndrome.  He disagreed, thought it was in fact a spinal problem, took x-rays, saw inflammation and some arthritis, and put me on a Medrol Pak (high doses of anti-inflammatory).  Did you just fall asleep?  I’m almost done.  I went back to Dr. Greg, desperate.  His diagnosis?  Severe tendonitis.  Oh, and I’m getting older.  He didn’t say that.  He didn’t have to.  I’m to ice three times a day, do back-strengthening exercises, and stretch the shit out of my muscles.  Up to now, at age fifty, when doctors told me something, what I heard was: “You can ignore my advice.  It’ll get better on its own.”  Like running through pain – it eventually goes away.  But you know what?  Dr. Greg was serious.  I actually have to ice three times a day, etc.  And here’s the really crazy thing: I am.  I’ve got a bag of frozen peas under my knee right now, a frozen gel pack around my lower calf, AND I’m getting better.  I did some zumba yesterday with Sandy Campy (my butt hurts), and went running this morning.  Fingers crossed.

– One of my sister’s dogs died this week.  Broken hearts all around, even as we knew it was inevitable.  It occurred to me what a wonderful leap of faith pet owners take each time we get a dog or cat (fish, chicken, horse).  When we ‘adopted’ Shelby and Jack, there wasn’t talk of their life span, the idea that we’d survive them – but, God willing, we will.  They’re my two best friends, sitting above and below me as I write.  Rather than protect ourselves from heartache down the road, we have faith – believing in our capacity to experience Fido’s love now and his loss later, and live to tell.  We possess confidence in our resilience.  Pet owners, let’s pat ourselves on the back.

A Hologram for the King– This past week’s reading was Dave Eggers’ A Hologram for the King (2012).  Good book.  Really good book, even as it was depressing.  It brought to mind “Death of a Salesman” if Willy Loman were selling an IT program in Saudi Arabia.  Our anti-hero, Alan Clay, is quietly desperate for that next big sale in order to pay his bills back home, mainly his daughter’s college tuition.  He’s a sad sack and unfortunately relatable – which is what makes Eggers’ writing, and this novel, so worthy.  The prose is efficient, the characters authentic, the plot so unexpected.  It’s not high drama, but who comes up with this stuff – a failed middle-aged American sales executive, holed up in Saudi Arabia waiting to present to the King an IT program for a soon-to-be erected city, who befriends a cab driver and the doctor who removes an onerous cyst from his back?  Eggers does.  It’s not a book for everyone, so I’m giving it three and half coffee cups (I need to get cute icons of same), instead of the four it really deserves.

– It’s our sixteenth anniversary today and the husband remains infinitely worth keeping.  There are several things that make our marriage work, not the least of which is a sense of humor and an enormous understanding of our shortcomings.  At Miss T’s fall concert last night, I mentioned the anniversary only to point out that there’s little chance to have dinner together because of the three girls’ schedules this evening.  He felt horrible, having forgotten the date, even as I desperately reassured him that it was no big deal.  In other words, I hadn’t done a thing to honor the day and “Please don’t get me anything because I haven’t had time to get you anything.”  Of course this morning I came downstairs just as he was getting back from his run, clutching roses and three gift cards in his hands.  One was from Starbucks, another from iTunes.  I handed them back as my anniversary gift to him.  We had a good laugh.  I think I’ll go make a card.

– A friend this past Monday said her husband was taking their son to ‘the Tom Hanks pirate movie’.  I mentioned they weren’t ‘ahoy matey’ pirates and she laughed, knowing that “Captain Phillips” involves Somali bad guys off the coast of Africa.  But ‘the Tom Hanks pirate movie’ had a better ring to it.  Haven’t seen it yet.  Hear it’s terrific.  But again, may I bring up an issue?  Why is it that the whole world can have guns – especially crazy young men in this country – but they’re not allowed on ships, even those entering the most dangerous waters in the world?  If you find yourself floating in the ocean near Somalia, there’s a pretty good chance a bunch of thugs are going to hijack your boat, but maritime law won’t allow you to protect yourself with the one weapon that would likely stop this crime from repeating itself.  Makes no sense, like the Tea Party Caucus.  On the subject of recent movies, “Gravity” is the only film I’ve ever seen worth the 3-D price tag. Great effects, Bullock is terrific, and I’m never becoming an astronaut.

Have a great weekend.


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  1. Mare says

    Thanks for the shout out to my sweet Finley. It IS a leap of faith getting a dog, but I wouldn’t trade these past 7 years for anything. When your kids move away, your pets become the ears that listen & the head you kiss constantly and I will cherish the affection I got in return from my Golden. I just wish he’d stuck around a little longer. He’s never been mentioned in a blog before…so thanks, Jo. I’m sure Finley is smiling from doggie Heaven.

  2. Linda says

    As our family is going through the sorrow of home hospice with our 16yr. old pup Sheena, I’m so grateful for your insight. Fresh thoughts to help us move forward.

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