Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The One and Only Lion of the Senate.

"Bill by bill, provision by provision, he expanded government health support to millions of children and the elderly, helped millions more go to college, opened the immigration doors to millions of new Americans from continents other than Europe, and protected the civil rights bulwark of the '60s through a long period of conservative domination." --Peter Canellos, The Boston Globe.

A singular son.

James flew back to Pittsburgh last night on a red eye special. While Leroy cooked dinner, James and I hung out in the reading room, wehre he introduced me to Bravo's "Top Chef" program. As readers know, both James and Leroy could qualify for that title in our household.

Leroy cooked orange roughy for he and James, and created a baked pasta dish with vegetables and cheese and pecans for me. He added fresh sweet corn, tomatoes and lettuce. Then he turned around and wrapped leftover fish into two tortillas for James to take on the flight.

Since I'm usually the photographer, Leroy was kind enough to take this photo of the two of us. I'm as proud of him as he is of me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A week of photos.

Leroy sliced a fresh melon, and gathered cheese, figs, crackers to accompany it, for a small snack as we bid farewell to our friend Luba, from Argentina. It's been great to spend time with herthis visit.

James has been here since last Sunday. We are so glad to have him with us. As usual, lively discussions take place, with a great deal of argument.

Here the two of them are discussing a wide range of issues connected with education.

I was not aware, for example, that Kant taught about 60 hours a week...

And, in an earlier part of the discussion, the two of them are sitting rather calmly.

Earlier today, I went to Swansons Nursery to pick up plants to install in the back garden pots.

This shot of the garden indicates that the bushes have grown almost as tall as the sundial.

Phlox and winter pansies.

The back terrace and garden look much improved after Elisse's help this past week.

Other news, not shown here. I put my Brooks Aeriel walking shoes back on this morning and kept them on for around five hours. Not much discomfort at all, which is a good thing since I have a raft of external meetings this next week.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform." -- Susan B. Anthony

Health insurance reform is certainly being given dramatic rhetorical play in the news these days. While it may be tough to analyze the details of the various bills now pending, it is not difficult at all to see and hear the kind of fear-mongering and terror tactics being visited in particular on senior citizens, while at the same time bemoaning the government provider component of the reform as "socialized medicine." President Obama points out that Federal Express and UPS both compete brilliantly against the government funded Post Office. And what in the world are Medicare and Medicaid if not government-administered programs that no senior wants to see go away? Let's get real!!

For those who have pre-existing conditions like cancer, there is no doubt that there is a need for reform. I had lunch yesterday with the woman who inspired me to begin walking three years ago. We talked about some of the hard costs of chemotherapy, radiation, and medications. How in the world can a poor person without health insurance get by when the cost of some of the prescriptions is, as Julie pointed out, more than a month's rent?

The bill I received from the Princeton Medical Center for treatment in their emergency room in May was over $3,000. I have terrific insurance, so I paid only a small percentage of that bill. Many people do not.

It would be worth it truly for everyone to settle down and actually try to inform themselves on the details of reform. It affects everyone, including many of our fellow walkers who are not able to get health insurance if they lose their jobs and have to pick up another plan.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Slow and steady wins the race." -- Aesop

I saw Dr. Berg this morning, and don't have to go back now for a month. I was hoping to put on a pair of shoes by the end of August, at the five week mark. I am still hoping to do so, but could not tell from his examination if that is realistic. He was running late, and I was hurrying to leave his office and get on a conference call, so I did not press for information the way I should have.

No matter which of my inspirational quotations I think of, I grind my teeth. I want to be able to put on a pair of shoes and get back in the gym. I want to walk to work, or to lunch.

James comes home for nine days on Sunday. I'm hoping he can help me figure out what I can be doing to exercise and get stronger while the feet continue to bake.

On the garden side, Elissa is going to be cleaning things up in there for me starting this weekend. I'll be loading some photos of both family and gardens.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." -- Aristotle

One of my former staff found and emailed me a document I'd used for years to orient new staff. It begins with the second sentence from Aristotle, above.

Excellence can usually be found in my long-standing habit of gardening. But the garden has really suffered from a lack of imagination the past four summers. I had eye surgery in 2006, right after we finished renovation of the house. I was so busy training for the 3 Day Walks in 2007 and 2008 that I just never added anything to the garden, and ended up pruning things at the wrong time of the year. This year is another story: I did fine in the spring, and in fact even planted some vegetables. But my train trip, followed by launch of my new firm, followed by foot surgery, followed by the heat wave, have left things woefully shaggy and neglected.

I am bringing in someone who has time to go through all the beds on three sides of the house and clean things out and prune or move stuff where appropriate. Help is on the way.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Power and speed be hands and feet. " -- Emerson

This is my first day without pain, so I wanted to write a short note, especially to thank and congratulate all those who are walking in The 3 Day this year. If I remember correctly, the training is really beginning to pay off about right now, and you are amazed (though exhausted) about how far you can go on back to back weekend walks. For those feeling a little tentative, try not to worry. The actual walk is quite different from training. You'll having support -- including food & drink and bathrooms -- every 3 miles. And more importantly, you'll have folks like me cheering you on.

Though I won't be doing the walk this year, I can still count my blessings: first, I am now mostly without pain; and second, I have devised clever workarounds so that many will never know I even had surgery. There's nothing wrong with my brain or my hands, so power and speed just take another shape now.

Thank you to everyone for your good wishes these past weeks. By the end of August, I should be able to wear shoes again. Until then, it's socks and sandals.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Potting plants....

This is such a satisfactory kind of work to do. These plants were all gifts in conjunction with the opening of my business: front left, is jade plant from my friend Jenny; and the others plus a few more came in that basket from my friend Jan, who brought it to the launch party.

I am feeling very well, and it is much easier to get around now. Later today, we're going to Crystal Lake for a special birthday party.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hola Luba!

We are waiting for our good friend Luba to arrive from the airport. She will stay with us for the next several days. Her son Pablo, who lives just at the end of the block, has more guests than he can hold in his we are lucky enough to turn the basement flat over to Luba.

This is a woman to admire. She was for many years a psychoanalyst in Buenos Aires. Then she decided to become a sculptor, working in both metal and wood. You can google her to see just how well she is known nowdays. In 2001, my friend Jenny and I spent ten days in Buenos Aires with Luba...unforgettable times, including an evening of tango.

If you want to see her work, google "Luba Lisenberg."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Sometimes things just all fall into place...

I had a great day at work, starting around 9:30 in the office and ending with a class I taught that ended at 6pm. I did manage to get out and pick up lunch, so that counts as rest time. The rest of my day was entirely normal: a quick meeting with Pablo; two teleconferences; and then finally the catastrophic planning class done via the UW's distance learning program.

I also managed to get the new brochure re-worked a bit, to take into account feedback we've had or clarifications I've made in my head since opening the business. And the ASA intern job description has been circulated widely now as well.

I have a good bit of project work to complete before Sunday evening. And I have a string of calls to return on some future business opportunities.

Life is good.

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Irony is a clear consciousness of an eternal agility, of the infinitely abundant chaos." -- Karl W. F. Schlegel

Thanks to the folks at Shoes 'n Feet, I am now wearing real sandals, rather than the awful surgical sandals dispensed along with the pain medication. It's amazing how good they feel--and the manager built a special inside L-shaped pad near where the bunion sits so that I don't get rub in the wrong place. The sandals are made by Naot, and are totally adjustable on strap tightness.

Don't know why it took me so long, except that I could not get flip flops on this morning and I have mostly only been going back and forth to the office, not shopping. Let's hear it for the return of irony!

This evening, we took an old fashioned ride in the Audi with the top and windows open, complete with ice cream cones. On our way to Golden Gardens, we tuned into NPR, for two excerpts from Aspen's Ideas Festival, including one from Harvard's Michael Sandell on the moral limits of markets; and the other on the financial meltdown by Google's Eric Schmidt. It was a great way to end the day.