Archive for the ‘September, 2012’ Category

Examinations

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”  Lots of people know and some even are known to quote this statement attributed to Socrates by Plato.   Some religions encourage confession, which requires a kind of examination — another quotation one hears often is  ”Confession is good for the soul” (which is cites as coming from a Scottish proverb), while others agree with Peter De Vries: Confession is good for the soul only in the sense that a tweed coat is good for dandruff — it is a palliative rather than a remedy. Still others, I think one example is the LDS church, encourage diary keeping, which would seem to include examination of one’s life. But lately FD has been getting a lot of examinations by various doctors, and it leads FD to wonder exactly how much good examining one’s life really does.  How deeply should one go?  Is it enough to give a cursory thought before acting?  To take a moment before sleep to review the day? Isn’t moving forward and living in the present more important and more useful than examining and ruminating over the past? It seems to FD that too often, observing one’s life can get in the way of living one’s life.

Interesting to hear about your talk with the shrink, and I’m glad she’s helping you tweak the drugs and agrees with me about listening to your own inner clock. I agree with you that confronting your mom isn’t going to be any help; I think it is sometimes hard for people to understand that both her age in general and her cognitive difficulties are both going to make it next to impossible for her to change, especially when it’s not her idea.  I do believe that people mostly just become more who they are as they age, even though I’ve seen lots of growth in people before they are very old (e.g. neither Dan nor I are like what we were in our 20s, but I don’t expect either of us to have any equal changes in the next 20 years.)  So, it does seem that the person who has to change is you, to find a way that it doesn’t upset you as much. I’m sure it is harder because it is your mother, I imagine if you were caring for Greg’s mother you wouldn’t be feeling it so hard, you would be able to see it as a continuing life problem, but it wouldn’t be as emotional a problem.  Still, I can really relate to what you said about the way it seems to be taking over your life, that’s how I felt when it seemed that all of our decisions were based on Dan’s being an only child of elderly parents, decisions about how we spent our vacations, what jobs we applied for, everything revolved around what he felt were his responsibilities where they were concerned.  And I did need talk therapy for that, to help me see that I did still have a lot of space/time that I controlled.  It’s hard though, since most of the time the culture just doesn’t show how hard it is to be doing elder care, it’s always shown as tolerable — all those ads for alzheimer drugs make life with the elderly seem so peaceful and no problem at all.
You know, one mental trick I did when we were with his parents was to keep reminding myself that I knew when we were leaving, that this wasn’t the rest of my life and I knew that I’d be home at X time.  I also found it absolutely helpful to do things, knitting all the time when I had to just sit, and also I cooked as much as I could, or suggested activities like clearing up mail or sorting a drawer, or anything, card games, a tv show, something to pass the time in some sort of way that gave me some distraction from the just “being there” ness of it.  Does you mom like the dogs? Maybe you should bring a dog when you go, get her to take a short walk?
Ha, I need to resign up for KIrkus, they stopped sending me stuff, at least I haven’t seen anything, and I even check my spam filter.  I have seen the reviews for the new book, and it was a rave in the Times, too — they liked the Policeman book too, and I have considered it but those alternate history books aren’t really a genre I’m fond of.  In a way, I think of him as another of those boy novelists, in the Doctorow/Roth field (I bet John R. loves him).  If it isn’t a mystery, I generally prefer women writers these days.
More tomorrow,
JoAnn Confession is good for the soul only in the sense that a tweed coat is good for dandruff — it is a palliative rather than a remedy. Confession is good for the soul only in the sense that a tweed coat is good for dandruff — it is a palliative rather than a remedy.

Long Time, No Posts

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Alas, FD has not been writing posts for the FD Blog.  Regular tweets for the FD Twitter page, yes, but no recent posts here.  That’s not because FD hasn’t been reading! On the contrary, FD has been reading A LOT this summer, both fiction and nonfiction.  

For example:  The Knitting Goddess by Deborah Bergman was a find at a local used book store.  FD is not a “new ager” by any means, but the Greek myths were an early love, and Bergman’s book was fun.  In it, she retells some of these (and stories from other mythologies) while connecting them to possible knitting projects.  The book does make one want to knit, and FD has been doing that, too.  FD is almost done with a baby blanket that will be sent off to the Patternwork’s Challenge Contest (here’s a link to last year’s contest) and donated to some newborn.  When that’s done, FD will turn to knitting a self-striping sweater in brown tweeds, perfect for early fall, if it gets done in time!  The self-striping should help, it will be very simple knitting and shaping, probably a V-Neck cardigan.

And there was Clive James, Cultural Amnesia. That was a big project, but generally interesting.  The short biographical essays were perfect for nights when a little insomnia struck, and FD was looking for something to read for just a little while, until sleep was persuaded to return.

But the main summer reading project was the Wexford mysteries by Ruth Rendell.  FD is almost finished with the last in the series, The Vault. There are many television episodes based on the series, but just as FD doesn’t want to read a novelization of the Luther television series, FD is not anxious to see what some casting director decided Wexford and Burton looked like.  Instead, FD plans to “come back” to the US and read the Longmire series of mysteries.