‘Cured’

My medical coverage ran out for therapy on my hand. So much for the restoring full function.

This is what cured looks like.

Of course I’ll continue to wear the brace at night and the joint jack three times a day. Plus I’ll do the seven exercises (eight on alternate days.)

Last night I woke up with about a number 8 pain. Hope it improves.

Homeward

A fond farewell to Susan, Zoe, Nead. And a tearful farewell with Marcia. It seems I’m getting less agoraphobic, or there’s just more development to break up the expanse.

Airport security lacks organization. The curbside check in requires a long walk to a door not clearly labeled. And I received a printed a boarding pass after I presented my e-pass.

DIA must have some hope of expansion since the numbers at Gate C run from 1 to 99, but there are only 51 places to board.

I witnessed the new fad: “therapy” pets without vests because people don’t want to pay, $99 according to the woman behind me in line. Flight was supposedly full, but when I took my leg stretch, I saw an entire empty row plus three or four empty singles.

Remind me never to buy a bagel west of Pennsylvania. It was redeemed by an Americano, both from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Fierce storms had pummeled the country’s midsection, and we had to circle north. We encountered some bumps but otherwise the flight proved uneventful. The joke: the head attendant said as we touched down, “Wow! Let’s give a round of applause. Not bad for the pilot’s first flight!”

The leg from BWI to Hartford was of course delayed – by a half-hour, forty-five minutes, an hour, depending on whether it was the Southwest text, the board at the airport, or the information being handed out by the staff. We took off an hour and a half late.

While I was grabbing a bite to eat at the airport, I heard applause. And then more. It got louder, and I saw people standing up. Sales clerks left their posts to step into the aisle. It took perhaps thirty seconds for the cause to appear. There was an entire platoon (?) of military folks – painfully young looking men and women — so many of color — in fatigues, carrying their duffles. Everyone stood and applauded. A few minutes later another smaller group came through to another round of applause. A moving experience, but I kept thinking of the people left behind in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

The joke by the head attendant on this leg was trying to claim that we were headed to Cabo San Lucas. Based on her accent, she could have legitimately said Montego Bay and I would have been thrilled.

As soon as I walked out of the airport after a forty-five minute flight, the wet hot blanket of humidity descended. I almost turned around to book a flight back to the high desert.

Denver Day 7

Another blessedly quiet day. The highlight was dinner at the excellent El Noa Noa with Marcia, Susan, their friend Delaine, their son Tim, his girlfriend Rebecca, and family friend Shah. We started outside, but the heat, the wind, and the on-and-off spray from the fountain drove us into air conditioning.

We started with perfect chips and salsa, along with a small and very expensive bowl of guacamole, which was far superior to any I’ve had on the East Coast. I had chile rellenos with vegetarian sauce. For some odd reason, the green sauce has pork in it. The portion was so enormous I passed the second chile to Shah. The grownups shared a pitcher of margaritas. They were delicious but had no kick. The best part: My stomach didn’t have that swallowed-a-brick feeling at the end of the meal, a frequent phenomenon of Mexican dining in New England.

Afterward, we had a second evening of The Circus, so aptly named and in general outrageous and depressing.

It was my last day, and I cherished every minute of time with Marcia and Susan.

Denver Day 6

Denver squares

… was quiet and included a long walk through the neighborhood, which has a variety of architecture, some brick, some adobe. There are these funny little round metal gadgets peeking up out of the ground. They are everywhere. Marcia explained they were sprinkler heads.

All that watering opportunity means lots of green lawn, and vast expanses along the main boulevards and in the medians. Marcia said those were considered parkland. I can’t imagine how much water it takes to keep them green. This year it’s not a problem, but what happens in drought times?

There’s also a whole battle going on over historic district designation. A number of older (1920s and later) buildings are being torn down and replaced by blocky looking structures that become eyesores among the gracious homes and small low-rise commercial properties.

Denver Day 5

Today was my day Marcia and I made jambalaya. We did most of the work in the a.m. and let everything meld until dinnertime. It succeeded, except that I forgot that water boils at 180, not 212. The rice came out ok, but it took me a while to figure out why it was still extremely al dente after twenty minutes. Ditto with the shrimp, which took twice as long to cook. Susan wants the recipe.

In the afternoon, we did a run to Target, also more civilized than any of the three near me. Politesse reigned in the parking lot and in the store, among the staff and other shoppers.

Then a quick lunch at Tokyo Joe’s, a mini-chain that hasn’t made it this far East. It’s a shame because the miso soup and veggie roll were both equal to a traditional sushi restaurant.

No walk, but stretches kept the joints and ligaments in shape.

The day concluded with a scintillating dinner that included next-door neighbor Sue, who grew up in Connecticut. I think even the boys who claimed to hate shrimp devoured a goodly portion of the bayou stew.

Denver, Day 4

Omitted from the Botanic Garden visit: the glorious river of stones. These are small stones arranged along several paths. They resemble the flow and eddies of a moving stream. It became a little taste of New England – and of Asia – in the midst of high desert.

An interesting day. Susan and Marcia embarked on a cleanup campaign in the yard despite my urging them that the work could wait. We all slowed down when Susan discovered that the air quality raring was an F. Outrageous. Between the quality and the temps – 90s – we did not take a walk. The living room is perfect for stretching, and a yoga session banished the final kinks in my back from the flight.

After dinner we had a delightful evening watching Today’s Special. The best sort of day, filled with good company, good food, and lots of laughs – though not as riotous as the Nead incident.

Denver Day 3

Since the temps promised to be in the 90s and I haven’t be out in anything higher than UV3, Marcia and I decided to go to the Botanic Gardens before the sun climbed too high.

The first thing that hits are the small friendly army of staff and volunteers who weed, water, mulch, give directions, and generally keep the place gorgeous and humming.

We spent a couple of glorious hours looking at Calder: Monumental and other gems. The eight steel sculptures are of course captivating and gorgeous but not all displayed to full effect. One was partially hidden from the path by spiky evergreens so the full view required a walk out onto a wet lawn. Another sat at the base of a slope with a rose garden behind it, making it impossible to see the back. I didn’t get any decent photos because the sun was so bright I couldn’t see to fix the “display and brightness” setting on my phone. The sculpture above is my favorite because it’s kinetic with red on the back that comes into view when the wind blows.

We also caught a look at the Chihuly, which the Gardens purchased after his exhibition a couple of years ago. Wish I could have seen them lit at night.

The highlight from my perspective was the Japanese garden. The teahouse was closed, but the bonsai and views out to the coi pond more than made up for it. The pond had a special appeal as mama duck followed four babies who were doing relay races from the center to the edge.

The only true downer came from three women sitting in the wrought-iron and glass house. The one in the center turned to the Latina-looking one on her left, put her hand on the woman’s arm and said, “Now I know you voted for Trump…” I made a beeline for the exit.

After lunch we stopped at the grocery store, another entirely smooth experience. Everything here seems to flow. Marcia then succeeded in cleaning a layer of bugs off the front of the car that she and Susan had driven to New Mexico. It resembled a coat of armor even after the car had been through the carwash. Those New Mexico bugs must have guts of iron.

Laugh of the day: The cat Nead, pronounced “Ned,” made an appearance and acted like he wanted to sit on my lap but didn’t want to jump. He’s a fluffy Maine coon type, only with a pointy face. I hoisted him, expecting 10 pounds of cat under a mound of fur. He landed hard in my lap because I discovered on the way up that he was closer to 25 pounds! I gasped. He of course made a beeline for the corner. As a recovery from the shock, I laughed so hard I had trouble breathing. That set Marcia off. She laughed so hard she began to cry. It seemed he would never forgive me, but by the next day we’d made up, though he never did sit on my lap.

Denver Day 2

The day started by rediscovering the joys of French press coffee, which I stopped making at home because of caffeine overload. With a second coffee lover in the house, I revived my skills – and managed not to screw it up.

Marcia dropped me at Tattered Cover, Denver’s, oh, so satisfying bookstore. I could move in. The periodical collection alone is worth a visit with foreign-language newspapers and magazines, along with the best of U.S. publications. I had vowed not to make any purchases because 1) my luggage is heavy enough and 2) I have way too many books at home that require my attention.

The purpose of the visit was meeting Toni Tipton-Martin, author of The Jemima Code.

Once we started, we could have stayed all day. She’s working on a second book about the culture and attitudes surrounding recipes that she’s reconstructing from The Jemima Code. Now I’m too intimidated to try Malinda Russell’s Cream Cake. The new publication can’t arrive soon enough.

Toni and I share so much in terms of early experiences and reactions to our visits in the South. She has done a much better job of turning all these various strands into works of art that will serve to contribute to the greater understanding of the world we all inhabit.

We intend to continue our connection. I feel enriched and emboldened to expand my horizons beyond the intersection of food, culture, and the myriad contributions of African Americans to the country and the world at large.

After Toni left, I wandered around the store avoiding purchases. Marcia picked me up just as my self-control was running out.  We went to Trader Joe’s. The Denver version is so much more civilized than that zoo in New Britain/Farmington/West Hartford. Drivers  don’t try to run over pedestrians in the parking lot. People stand aside for each other and say hello in the store. Even the staff is more helpful.

Altogether a rewarding day.

Denver, Day One

Blog went on hiatus because I went to Denver to see my dear friend Marcia.

A terrific beginning with a nonstop flight. It was uneventful except for the flight attendant who pointed to two elderly nuns and said to the passengers in the row behind them, “If they misbehave, call their parole officer!” The good fortune continued as we arrived a half-hour early despite some bumpy places early on.

I did the usual and lost my voice upon entering the airport. It always returns, but the first minutes can be scary.

After lunch, Marcia and I took a good walk with Zoe the resident pooch. The highlight appeared in the form of a nearby lawn and verge just filled columbines, a riot of blooms. Aside from the color, they made it seem that clouds and pixie dust and butterflies had landed.

Because of all the rain Denver is almost as green as Connecticut except for the undeveloped places along the road from the airport. Nevertheless I found myself lathering on moisturizer and Blistex. Who wears lip moisturizer in 80-degree heat?!

A joyous first day!

Friday Follies

Upscale kitty condo

The “Cat Museum” headline indicated that the browser had found its way to the Onion homepage. But no. It’s a real place, and it actually has a serious purpose.

The Cat Museum in Minsk is a platinum-level shelter with a café and museum and all things feline added.

A favorite: the cats are “staff.” This counters the saying, “Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.”