On depression and grace

23 February 2012

Another week and a half, another absence from the blog.  No matter how often this happens, I never seem to get used to it.

I know I should be more consistent with this.  For one, I have plenty of things to say.  For another, people seem to like them (or at least read them).  And I know the best way to “build traffic” to a blog is to post something, anything, every day.  So I know these long absences are working against my best interests.

And yet they still occur.  The reason they still occur, while simple to state, is not so simply remedied.  Basically, I find it hard to write when I’m depressed.

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Beginning the “busy season”

22 November 2011

I’m writing this on November 22, two days away from Thanksgiving.  Which means that I’m two days away from what we at Chez Anselmeau call “the busy season.”

It’s kind of a funny thing, the holiday season around our house.  (And if anyone from the evangelical thought police is bothered that I just said “holiday season” instead of some other phrase, all I can say is — tough beans.)  We never planned it this way, it’s just how things worked out.  But starting Thursday, almost every commemorative event in our lives — and all the attendant celebration and gift-giving — will land in the next twelve weeks.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s the rundown:


Penn State, and the betrayal of trust

15 November 2011

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.  It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. (Luke 17:1-2)

For the last few days, I’ve wanted to write regarding the situation at Penn State University.  Easier said than done.  A lot of writers, far better than I and with far more information and insight, have written about it.  I won’t attempt to duplicate their work — I just have a few things that have been sitting on my chest, and that I want to get off.  Forgive me if this comes out as a jumble, but my mind is a jumble when it comes to this, so bear with me …

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More problems with (and lessons from) pain

10 November 2011

Yeah, another long absence from blogland on my part.  My intentions were good.  I had topics ready to go.  There have been no problems with my computer.  And yet there I wasn’t.

The reason?  Because I was having trouble thinking straight enough to write.  And the reason for that was a serious bout of pain in my right leg.

I was diagnosed earlier this year with “chronic tendinosis.”  What that phrase means is that the tendons in my right ankle and lower leg can get stretched out of shape very easily and will hurt like nobody’s business, causing problems with activities like walking, standing, sitting and lying down.  What that phrase ALSO means is that a long battery of tests, my doctor can identify the symptoms (no duh, so can I!) and slap a label on them, but she doesn’t have a clue what causes it or how to cure it.  As diagnoses go, “chronic tendinosis” is about as helpful as what Warren Zevon was once told by his doctor.

So since just before Halloween (for which I had a blog post prepared, which now will have to wait until next year), I’ve been limping around in great pain, with my ankle swelled up to almost the size of my calf, often unable to relax the muscles or flex it in any direction because of the pain.  I had prescription Naproxen and Flexeril around from the last flare-up; the Naproxen had no effect, while I can’t tell if the Flexeril helped because it knocked me unconscious.  Finally I resorted to a steady diet of three ibuprofen every four hours plus occasional applications of Icy Hot, and things started improving.

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Cleaning out the closet — and long overdue!

23 August 2011

Some random bits and pieces from the pages of my mind — none of them enough for a full blog post, but still worth passing on:

* Regular readers of this space know that I’m a big fan of Bill Simmons, ESPN.com’s “Sports Guy” since 2001.  Well, Bill has gone and done something new, starting his own website called Grantland.  Named after 1920s sportswriter Grantland Rice, it’s sort of a clearinghouse for feature and opinion pieces on sports, popular culture and the intersection of the two.  Besides Simmons, the featured writers include Chuck Klosterman, Malcolm Gladwell, Katie Baker, This Recording’s Molly Lambert and ESPN’s Jonah Keri, plus a half-dozen others that you may not have heard of but will become a fan of before long.  The level of authorship ranges from pretty good to excellent, they put up about a dozen pieces a day, and I probably spend more time reading it Monday-Friday than I can really afford.  But I never seem to regret it.

I just added a link to Grantland to my list o’ links on the right — or you can click here to check it out.  Try it, you might like it.

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Cleaning out the closet: Sean, Anne, Scott and the neighbors

4 August 2010

A few items I thought I’d address, none of which quite rate their own post:

* I mentioned in Monday’s column that Sean had a doctor’s appointment the following afternoon.  Well, the appointment went well, I think.  It was my first chance to meet Dr. Abraham, Sean’s new pediatrician (and vice-versa), and she seems very capable, eager and optimistic, all good qualities.  I think she may have been a little intimidated by me — I tend to do that by accident, as I’m pretty intense and stubborn and I look a little like John Goodman in The Big Lebowski (the one on the right).  I try to tone it down, I just fail most of the time.

But it went okay.  I got all my questions answered.  We agreed to give her power of authorization for Sean’s feeding supplies and medications; previously, I was still having to go through the doctor at Children’s Hospital Oakland, which is a pain.   And we decided to increase his daily intake of formula from 1000 calories to 1250, with a future goal of 1500 (say, a few months down the road).  He has a follow-up appointment in a month — I’m looking forward to it.

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Laughs and lessons from the “Satellite of Love”

18 July 2010

Two trends in my life have collided recently.  One is that with all the busyness of taking care of Sean, the rest of the family, the house and grounds, this blog and what-have-you, I have to find some way to relax at the end of the day.  Preferably one that doesn’t cost any extra money.

The other is my on-and-off relationship with popular entertainment, which means that I’ve often missed entire waves of pop culture because I’m simply occupied elsewhere.  (There’s only so many hours in the day, after all.)  For instance, I was largely unconscious of the entire grunge movement in the early ’90s and the Alanis Morrisette thing a few years later.  I’ve never watched a single episode of The West Wing, The Sopranos or Six Feet Under, and only one each of Seinfeld and Frasier.  These were part of the lives of millions of people, but had little or no impact on me.  Sometimes I get caught up after the fact; other times, I’m simply left mystified at the appeal of this or that trend and move on.  (Alanis falls into the latter category for me.  Sorry, ma’am.)

Recently I’ve discovered a one-time pop culture phenomenon that is also serving as a method of relaxation for me.  It’s a little low-budget TV show of recent vintage with the unlikely title of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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