Cancer, you’re not invited


For most of my adult life I have answered the question “Occupation?” with one word: journalist. I still do, but now I am tempted to add a phrase.

Cancer patient…

Even in remission, cancer alters a patient’s perception of what’s normal. Morning, noon and night, asleep and awake, malignant cells are determined to alter or end your life…

Age alone puts me in my twilight years; and cancer only heightens that objective reality. Yet I am not consumed by the prospect of death. When it intermittently enters my consciousness it has an abstract quality. I can’t quite get a grip on how this life might end…

Whenever I engage in this kind of reflection I fault myself for not shifting into a lower gear. What happened to the sailing lessons, the calligraphy course, that short story I had hoped to publish? […]

Cancer fund-raising events? Yes, if the distance and demands are not onerous. But is it possible that NBC News coverage of the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, two very long plane rides away, would not be at all affected by my absence? I think it is.

Maybe it would be better if I just gathered our five grandchildren and we watched the occasion on television as I answered their questions. Then we would all go for Chinese food and plan our next get together.

Cancer, you’re not invited.

Don’t miss full essay by Tom Brokaw @ Tom Brokaw: Learning to Live With Cancer


Zeke. The Countdown.


I walk Zeke outside.

He sniffs at the grass, at the plants, at the trace of bunny in the air.

I watch him circle the yard: It’s gone.

The vigorous flourish of the tail. The accelerated gait, his canter. All gone. In its place, the all-consuming lethargy.

The panting is incessant. His barrel chest rising and falling, a steam engine chugging, The Little Red Engine That Could: I think I can, I think I can, I think I still can.

He’s parched, always. His long tongue stretches to lap up gulps of water.

And Dad, “I’m hungry. I’m always hungry. I can’t help myself. It’s those damn white pills you wrap in the lunch meat.”

The steroid dosage has been lowered, his normal surefootedness slipping.  Another stumble up the stairs this morning, his head lunging into the hardwood –and then, a soft, helpless yelp.

Water from a tap drips.

No one is ready for this. No one wants this.

This shot clock is running out.

Related Posts: Zeke

Muro 128


I’m freakish about putting anything near my eyes (and anything touching my Adam’s Apple like a turtle neck – I tug and tug and tug at it to Free Willy. Get it off! Get it off!  Or the mouth guards dentists use to take impressions of my teeth and the chalky putty sliding down my throat, the eyes tearing, the gagging reflex, the choking, God, help me…Jesus that escalated quickly.)

It has become a necessary ritual to solve the eye-thing: Recurrent Corneal Erosion triggered by the back story here: I need to read.

The right hand grabs the 2.5 inch tube of Muro 128 5% Sodium Chloride Ophthalmic Ointment. I’ve made the switch from the cheaper generic. Raisin Bran maybe, but generics with eye lube? Saving a few bucks on chemicals you’re pouring into your eye balls, really? Are you nuts?

I think about why it’s Muro 128 and not 130 or 100 as I squeeze the salve in the lower lid. The hands tremble like an addict. I need this. I really need this. What I need is, to pay attention to the trembling hands inadvertently driving the aluminum tip of the tube through the eyeball into my brain.

One dab in each eye before bed time.

I pause, the chemicals coat the eye balls, the world goes blurry, I feel my way to bed. [Read more…]



For half a century,
he opens the door and there it is.
Chillin’ and chilled.
Cold, smooth, white as snow.

From bottles, to cartons, to jugs.
On cereal.
With chocolate chip cookies and PB&J.
A chaser for warm apple crisp.

And then he wakes.


A half a century later.

And this insomniac finds himself standing in front of the open refrigerator door. The same Boy who stood in a similar place on a similar summer morning in July. Bare foot.  White t-shirt. Undershorts. With the freon propellant misting him with its cool breeze. And he pauses to think.

Tolerant. To intolerant.

There he finds a plastic jug of 2% flanked by “All Natural Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond Milk.”

And a single thought comes to his mind. The title of the 1989 biography written by Marion Meade:

Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?


Unfairly Demonised. That’s Right.


1980’s: Replace butter with margarine. Overturned.

1990’s: Eliminate salt. Debunked.

2000’s: Eliminate/reduce carbs.

And today, the big news:

  • Eating pasta is not fattening and actually decreases the chances of becoming obese”
  • “A new survey of more than 23,000 people, however, has linked pasta consumption to both lower body mass and waist-to-hip ratio.”
  • “…also found that the correlation between pasta intake and lower obesity rates occurred independently of overall diet”
  • “evidence that carbohydrates have been “unfairly demonised”.”=
  • “the current trend of people cutting out pasta from their diets in an effort to lose weight was unjustified”
  • “a fundamental component of Italian Mediterranean tradition, and there is no reason to do without it”
  • results clearly show that it is wrong to demonise carbohydrates as the data clearly show that consumption of a carbohydrate-rich food such as pasta does not have an adverse effect on body weight.

Read more at The Telegraph: Eating pasta helps you lose weight, says Italian study

Moral of the story:

1) Wait long enough and it all comes home.

2) Back up the Pasta Truck.

3) Next up: Ice Cream.

Notes: (1) Thank you Rich for sharing the research.  (2) Photo: Credit

It’s come to this…

breathe-app-watch-os-1 breathe-app-watch-os-2 breathe-app-watch-os-3 breathe-app-watch-os-4

In addition to reminding you to stand and walk throughout the day, watchOS 3 will also prompt Apple Watch users to take a minute to relax, focus and meditate with a new app dubbed “Breathe.”

When a Breathe notification pops up, users can either begin a session or choose to snooze it. A dedicated Breathe app on the app screen — as well as a new Breathe complication that can be added to watch faces — also allow users to start a session whenever they choose.

Once users begin, the app informs them to “be still and bring attention to your breath.” A series of circles on the Apple Watch display gradually expand, accompanied by taptic feedback on the wrist, letting the user know to slowly inhale.

Read More: New ‘Breathe’ app for Apple Watch reminds you to relax, focus. 

Source: AppleInsider

No other warm-blooded creature lives this way. We alone keep working 24/7, under the false suns of our fluorescent lights.

Swiping (by Eszter Balogh) DESIGN STORY: | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | [[MORE]]

38 percent of Americans describe themselves as “always” feeling rushed. No other warm-blooded creature lives this way: ignoring seasonal patterns, ignoring rest. We alone keep working 24/7, under the false suns of our fluorescent lights. It is as if we hope to rid ourselves of the natural world entirely: discarding not just our own circadian rhythms, but also the larger cycles of the moon and stars, the tides, the solar year. And yet, it is useful, surely, to have some grasp of what the experts call “chronobiology”—to recognize the ways in which our bodies are in fact entrained not to clocks or computers or our weekly schedules, but to the ancient, powerful rhythms of the larger universe. In the course of a day, our hearts will pound out a quiet drum of sixty to eighty beats per minute, speeding up as we race to catch a bus, slowing down when we take a nap. Our body temperatures will rise and fall by a degree or two, reaching peak efficiency late in the afternoon. Our cells will multiply and divide and replace themselves as necessary; hormones and enzymes will be produced. Women in their child-bearing years will move with greater or lesser ease through the different stages of their monthly cycles. Meanwhile, rain or shine, our attention will ebb and flow throughout the day: an hour and a half of concentrated attention, a short break; another hour and a half, another break.

~ Christian McEwen, World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down.



I want to stick around till I can’t see straight

…spending many hours — sometimes all day…while sitting in front of the screen, she told me, “I developed burning in my eyes that made it very difficult to work.” After resting her eyes for a while, the discomfort abates, but it quickly returns when she goes back to the computer. “…I’d turn off the computer, but I need it to work the frustrated professor…has a condition called computer vision syndrome. She is hardly alone. It can affect anyone who spends three or more hours a day in front of computer monitors, and the population at risk is potentially huge. Worldwide, up to 70 million workers are at risk…and those numbers are only likely to grow. In a report about the condition the authors detail an expanding list of professionals at risk … all of whom “cannot work without the help of computer.”…Studies have indicated 70 percent to 90 percent of people who use computers extensively…have one or more symptoms…The effects of prolonged computer use are not just vision-related. Complaints include neurological symptoms like chronic headaches and musculoskeletal problems like neck and back pain…the use of a computer for even three hours a day is likely to result in eye symptoms, low back pain, tension headache and psychosocial stress.  Still, the most common computer-related complaint involves the eyes, which can develop blurred or double vision as well as burning, itching, dryness and redness, all of which can interfere with work performance.

~ Jane E. Brody, Computer Vision Syndrome Affects Millions

Notes: Portrait: Nadia (via Newthom). Post title taken from Foreigner’s Double Vision lyrics:

Tonight’s the night, I’m gonna push it to the limit
I live all of my years in a single minute
Fill my eyes with that double vision, no disguise for that double vision
Ooh, when it gets through to me, it’s always new to me
My double vision always seems to get the best of me, the best of me, yeah

2:38 am: A little closer to the edge


1:14 a.m.

The digital fluorescent clock leaves its reflection on the night stand. What a pretty color! What is wrong with you?

Turn pillow. Adjust. Hot. I skootch Zeke over.  I get up. Cup hands, slurp water. Then to Toilet.

Switch on iPhone. And then there was Light.  I flip through emails. Blog posts. Morning papers.

1:43 a.m.

Close eyes.

Replay Message on answering machine from a week ago: “Tests good, But”…and a long pause. But, What? “Cholesterol a problem.” Cholesterol a problem. WTH is that? [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. With Little Lights.


6:14 am. 28° F. Friday morning.

You push the start button, the engine fires.  The heater begins to blow.  The wipers clear the morning dew. The transmission slides into reverse.  Sirius beams down from the satellite circling, silently, way above.  You turn the dial and it’s Seals & Crofts. “Summer Breeze” fills the cabin and you mouth “makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”  It fills you like Guskin’s current of heat running through your body, as if you’ve swum into a warm patch in a cold lake.  Your eyes scan the traffic in the right lanes, orderly, flowing. They shift to the horizon, the sunrise burns amber into the light cloud cover.

And there it comes. Heart-side. A morning rush of sorts.  The cables affixed to the poles – a mild current jumps and sparks, stops and starts up again. This continues for two to three minutes, a morning call in recent weeks.  This intermittent squeeze, a crack in the earth, the bedrock shivers. [Read more…]

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