Blog Archives

OK… it’s off to Georgetown today for the last day of tests before surgery…

Something called “Pre-Surgical Intake” and ending with a new MRI. Then we’ll be chugging back to Harpers Ferry, I get a day off and on Thursday night I’m back in Georgetown at the hotel next to the hospital waiting to have a hole drilled in my head the next day.

Looks like we’ll be driving down in the rain.

I can’t say this is the week I’m looking forward to, but if it ends up solving the problem of my seizures and other things and I am allowed to drive a car again someday (that’s something a guy who goes around to visit friends really misses!) and maybe live a while longer who could complain?

Hey… a note to my wife… Let’s assume I’m going to make Christmas this year. Know what I want? The new DVD of the revival of Sondheim’s company with Neil Patrick Harris, Patty LuPone and… Stephen Colbert! You can get it at Amazon.  Don’t order it until after Saturday.

 

It’s Veterans Day…

I’ll be clear, here. I am not a veteran of our armed forces. When my eligibility would have occurred I got a 1 Y on my physical and was never allowed in (I was also married with a child and in college at the time.)

What I do remember every Veterans Day, however, is my Uncle Butch (Marine Sgt. Irving B. Tchakirides, my father’s younger brother), who died on his third tour of duty in Viet Nam… a victim of American fire as it happens. Many times I have gone to DC to see his name on the Viet Nam Wall and to remember how much I liked him, along with my other uncles, as a child.

So I wish a Best Veterans Day to the memory of my Uncle Butch and hope that someday we won’t have to think about losing our young men in wars we never should have been in.

 

Happy Birthday, America…

Here we are, in the midst of a heat wave with still over a million of our neighbors in the mid-Atlantic states out of power, and it is the 4th of July.

While not the most pleasant 4th we have had over the past few years, we are happy that the health care law still stands and our population is starting to wise up. Obama‘s numbers are rising, and that’s a positive happening.

So have a nice holiday… but stay out of the heat if you can. We are going to the first plays of the CATF tonight (we have two to see…5:30 and 8:30… and it’s going to be a long night.

Martin Luther King Day – a National Day of Service.

Had he lived, MLK would have been 83 this year. In his memory, we have today as a holiday and hope not to celebrate our day off, but to perform a service to the country… a kind of holiday that doesn’t exist elsewhere.

Elly is in her fifth year or so of producing the Martin Luther King Day program over at Hagerstown Community College… a program that has speakers (this year Ambassador Daouda Diabate from the Ivory Coast) and creates graphic design posters using King’s quotations.

I hope everyone has a good day.

Let’s look back on 2011 with Jib-Jab:

It’s becoming an annual tradition.

Onward into the New year.

I guess I’m REALLY feeling older…

Al Thomas

Last night was Al Thomas’ Birthday Party over at the Folly, the wonderful timber frame performance area he built some years ago on Bradley Sanders’ property, surrounded by talking areas and wood benches and what’s left of Al’s giant trebuchet (which he says he’s going to put back together one of these days.)

Al turned 60 this week, which makes him 5 years younger than me and a person with so much more energy and personality, able to carry on discussions with anyone and loved by everyone, that I am totally jealous.

Elly and Bud were also at the party with me ( Bud stayed there till 1:00 AM… 1:00 AM!… when his mother picked him up and the party was still going on.) We got there around quarter past five and after 2 1/2 hours I was exhausted, so I talked Elly into going home (she was going to a 10PM showing of “Paris Texas” at the Opera House with her friend Joan anyway), where I went to bed (I had been up since 4:30 in the morning and could barely keep awake.

The music was great, the food was terrific and beer and wine flowed freely. By the time I left there were easily 100 people there… from folks my age and older to the youngest of children running around and speeding through crowds on bikes… and Elly said when she picked up Bud cars will still arriving as others were leaving. How folks close to my age can keep going so far into the night is more than I can understand.

My son says I’m not “social” and that’s probably true (Elly agrees), but I think part of it is that I can never think of things to talk about unless someone else and I are involved in the same project, and I can’t remember most names… even of people I’ve met only a day or so ago. I am so embarrassed about my inability to remember names and how it makes it hard for me to introduce people to my wife and son or others, that I avoid doing it… or I do “one way” introductions, hoping the person whose name I can’t remember coughs it up when saying “nice to meet you.”

As I get older, I’m losing my memory of other things, too… events, movies I’ve seen, etc. … and my energy level is dropping like a bag of stones from a bridge. I’m having more and more trouble losing weight as I get more and more sedentary. I only sleep in 90 minute chunks, so I’m up and down all night. If it were not for this blog, my podcast, and co-hosting for John Case on the Friday morning radio show, I would probably be in a coma.

I can’t figure out who I am at this point in life. Perhaps working on the Carnival project for August at the Folly will help me see who I am (and someday I’d like to direct some theatre again… there are so many pieces I want to do and no one, so far, interested in having me do them.

At least it is Sunday and I can nap the afternoon away.

Anyhow… Happy Birthday, Al. You are one of the people whose names I CAN remember and who I really enjoy talking with.

Mother’s Day Brunch in Frederick, MD

We drove down to Frederick to meet Bud and his fiancee, Rachel, who came up from DC, for Mother’s Day lunch at the Cafe Nola.

Bud and Rachel

I hadn’t eaten here before, but Elly has been here several times as her AIGA meeting takes place around the corner twice a month. The Nola has plenty of vegetarian and light selections (I had a great French toast) and their coffee was particularly good.

After brunch we walked over to Frederick’s Community Bridge Mural, the great trompe l’oile painted bridge that looks amazingly like three dimensional stones, statues, gates and crests. Bud and Rachel were surprised when they got up close and found everything was relly flat and just painted on.

A section of the Bridge Mural

Bud, Rachel and Elly looking at the Mural

If you get the chance and are in Frederick, MD, this is worth visiting.

Mother’s Day

Some historians will tell you that Mother’s day is traceable back to pre-Judeo/Christian goddess worship. One of the earliest historical records of a society celebrating a Mother deity can be found among the ancient Egyptians, who held an annual festival to honor the goddess Isis, who was commonly regarded as the Mother of the pharaohs.

The same chroniclers of the past then site the pre-Easter custom of family members taking on Mother’s housework as a Lenten penance.

During the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe called for a peace to honor Mothers who had lost sons on the battle field. This started a brief Mother’s Day movement that had pretty much faded by the 1890s.

The first official Mother’s Day was then held on May 10, 1908 in Grafton West Virginia, after a campaign by Anna M. Jarvis. It would take a few more years of political action and Jarvis working full time to have federal legislation pass, but in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed the official National Observance of Mothers Day for the Second Sunday in May.

Today, Mother’s day is one of the major income holidays for restaurants, greeting card manufacturers and florists. But at least we still celebrate our Mothers.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom, Elly, Penny and Cassandra, my family’s mothers. Have a nice one.

Rain or Not, the Earth Day Festival goes on…

I just spent three hours at the Earth Day Festival in Shepherdstown’s Morgan’s Grove Park. Elly and the Sustainable Shepherdstown folks had a booth, as did most of the non-profits and craftsmen in town.

When I walked over to the park from my house (about a quarter mile away) there was a little bit of sun peeking through the clouds… but the weather said we’d have scattered showers and perhaps some thunder storms today, so I checked out the areas with decent coverage.

There was a fabric bandshell at the bottom of the hill from the Pavilion…the big protective area in case of rain… and they were warming up the mikes and checking the sound levels until it was time for the first act: a guy playing wooden wind pipes to recorded background music.

The next group to play was a country singer with an all-girl backup band – Lucas and the Lovelies – and they were pretty good.

Then it started to rain, which made the folks watching the music get under the pavilion so that they could see it without getting wet.

Meanwhile, Elly was selling cookies she baked this morning and Ruth Robertas’s Brownies under their tent top, raising money for Sustainable Shepherdstown and promoting the Community Garden. I watched the booth for a little while (sold some cookies/brownies) while she talked with some of their volunteers and with Peter Corum at the Morgan’s Grove Market Booth .

So I waited till the rain let up, then I walked home to feed the dogs. I think they’ll have a little more time without rain, but i do expect more before they close the booths in a couple of hours. It was fairly well attended, though.

Upcoming in Shepherdstown Next Week…

Saturday the 23d is Earth Day and Shepherdstown is having a big affair at Morgan’s Grove Park (which, of course, is right next door to the Community Garden that Sustainable Shepherdstown is setting up and the location for the new Morgan’s Grove Market which opens in May.)

Here is the poster:

Looks like great music… walk there if you can (I’m a lucky neighbor) or bicycle… cars pay $10.00 to park (which helps the Men’s Club maintain Morgan’s Grove.)

I’m not as happy today as I’d like to be…

I spent the morning going to two of my more common doctors, my GP and my Endocrinologist, over a brief episode that I had Sunday in the early morning. I don’t remember any of the episode, but my wife tells me I spent 3 or so minutes standing against a bedroom wall, staring straight ahead with my hands shaking. As I say when I finally remembered things there were two ambulance technicians from the Shepherdstown FD in my bedroom asking me questions (like “what’s your name” and “how many fingers am I holding up.” – oddly enough I could remember my street number, but not the name of the road for a couple of minutes… that’s pretty scary to me.)

Then my wife left me alone and let me sleep… which I did most of the morning.

According to my GP, I had a minor “ischiotic episode”… or, to coin a phrase, a “small stroke.” I just don’t remember it happening, just waking up from it. He’s sending me to a specialist on Friday.

This has been a lousy week, anyway. I had my annual appointment with the Opthalmologist, only to be told that, due to diabetes, my eyes are getting worse. He’s got me coming back to see an eye/blood specialist on April Fool’s Day (funny, yeah?). However, slowly but surely I’m going blind… it could take another ten or fifteen years.


Maybe I’ll have the big stroke before then.

Obama’s Weekly Address for Jan. 1, 2011

Here are the President’s best wishes for the New Year and more:


I’ve been out shopping this afternoon…

… looking for stocking stuffers for Elly. I must admit that I enjoyed it… it’s been a long time since I just focused on small things that emphasized how I felt about her, and finding special things was great fun.

Here we are four days before Christmas and the stores were not as mobbed as I expected them to be. I won’t be surprised if the financial reports of the retail season are lower than they were last year (which was pretty bad in itself.) Either that or most of the shopping that’s going on is happening on the web and not in stores.

Tonite we are going over to my grandsons’ school in Williamsport, MD, to hear their annual Christmas Concert. We did this last year as well and, while you have to be caught up in the lives of your grandchildren to believe it, the music was more than tolerable.

All the elements of the season are coming into play. What fun.

Looking for work, moving Snark forward, and getting over the fall and bruising I had the other night…

It is hard in general to get anything of substance accomplished in the dead period between Christmas and New Years. There are few people around who are working at their jobs, schools are on break and stores that didn’t make their holiday scores are not in the economic shape to hire.

It’s the third day since I fell and I’m walking around pretty easily now, although using the old cane that I had to use when this happened a couple of years ago in Laurel. I feel like I’ve lost a significant chunk of time to be working on my future and now a new month… new year… is coming and I’m still an aging guy without a regular job. Imagine, two degrees, 40 years of mixed and accomplished experiences and a clear intent and I still can’t get work!

As to Snark, I’m 52 days away from opening at Full Circle Theater and I’m still short 1 baritone… small part and, if all goes badly, I can cover it myself, but I really don’t want to. Today I’m sending packages out to the whole cast so far… rehearsals start next Monday night.

So I hope everyone has a nice day… I hear bad weather is coming for New Year’s Eve and I don’t look forward to it.

-BT

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