Saturday, January 24, 2009

What to get the man who has everything...

Happy 90th Birthday, Rulon Jeffs -Daddy just couldn't decide which one you'd like more. Mormon prophet and founder of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints--FLDS--with a present from one of his followers. Edna and Mary Fisher were his last two wives.

Perhaps he was slowing down a bit in his final years: it's estimated he had between 19 to 75 wives by the time of his death in 2002. It's hard to have an exact count as a) these marriages are not recorded in a legal sense b) it is considered bad form in the FLDS to talk to gentiles (non-FLDS)--in fact lieing is encouraged when dealing with government or outsiders in general--and c) the true number was probably known only to Rulon.

Along with being an enthusiastic supporter of celestial marriages, Rulon insisted the 1969 moon landing was a hoax (ironically he was a director of Hydrapak, the manufacturer of the faulty o-ring that cause the Challenger explosion in 1986) and so were dinosaurs.

After Rulon's death his son Warren married all but two of Rulon's surviving wives thus becoming, in the eyes of the FLDS, stepfather to his brothers, sisters (and, ah, himself...).

It's a fascinating world so stay tuned as I learn more about our own little bit of FLDS heaven here in BC, "Bountiful" and Winston Blackmore.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Serrindipity #2

Jenny Crimm, I take it, is a tv personality in Cleveland. This photo was in another search - it is of a much younger Jenny meeting Lowell Thomas - media legend, grand old man of television reporting and...well, things were different in those days...


Listening to radio - Pete Seeger "We shall overcome" and this picture came up on my way to searching for something else...Dorothea Lange takes the breath away sometimes...

credit to - a great place to look at high def restored photos that will use up hours before you even know it...

Can't help but think we are heading that way again all too soon - with any luck, we've learned a few lessons since the last time depression struck the world...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Back to the pool

It all started with one ankle swelling up - been to have it shot full of cortisone a couple of times but nothing really changed. Eat ibuprofen and tylenol like candy and it's okay. Then a tendon in one hand kinda gets bumpy...this is called a trigger. So, to the doctor for a referral to a new Rheumatologist cause the one I used to see seems to think a needle full of cortico steroids into whatever offending tendon or joint should be sufficient...$15.00 for the injection please...see ya sometime... Maybe something else should be done... Backgrounder over, fast forward several months - "didn't that referral go through?" she says at the last check-up. "Well, I've seen a Endocrinologist for my defective goiterish freakin thyroid so I figured maybe I was doing enough for the specialists in town already..." On the other hand, my left hand is pretty much useless without an opposable thumb...Fast forward again, 8 weeks from above noted conversation

Having been read the riot act, yet again, this time by a very well paid and extremely educated medical specialist type person - actually, he didn't read it in the usual way, just looked at my chart and said, "well, I'm not going to tell you to lose weight even if it would make a difference with .... mutter mutter.... you already know.... mutter mutter...." So I wait 5 minutes and, to keep the conversation going, ask, if I were to return to a program of physical fitness, would he recommend the gym or pool...mutter mutter, pool...mutter...low thing...mutter.

Actually he is considered one of the better Rheumatologists in town - or sort of in-town as he comes over here from Vancouver once a month. As I went through a round of blood tests, pee in the bottle and go upstairs for x-rays on just about anything that can flex; I learned from the lab & x-ray techs they always know when Dr. Tenenbaum is in town...The upside from each of them was that I was being put through the wringer by one of the best.

So, back to the pool. First morning I was barely able to make it from one end to the other. This is discouraging because I did used to be able to swim a couple of laps at a time before gasping...Anyway, after a week break, back to it and managed to get 5 laps - not continuous, mind you, but still, a full lap each time and only a brief moment before going for the next one.

It may not sound like victory but it means there is improvement. It also means I got in 7 laps total before everything was hurting. Y'see, the thing about arthritis is you really can't push through the pain. It's there to tell you it's time to stop pushing. You can warm up a bit and it goes away but when it comes back, if you don't pay attention, it's back with a vengeance in a few hours.

When I was 30 or so, it first came on. I was working in a restaurant and not in a position to slack off. Even though I was supposed to be running my shifts, the people working with me were all 19/20 and immortal. Hell, at 28 I figured I was pretty close to immortal myself. Anyway, I found myself asking these young turks to do things like lift the big pots full of water onto the stove for me - or bring in the 50lb sacks of potatoes or onions.

At first there wasn't a real problem but after a couple of weeks I began to notice the looks. So, like who did I think I was to shirk my share of the tote-that-barge aspect of working in the diner trenches? To their eyes I was taking my own sweet time just putting together the daily prep list--here's an experiment for the kids to try at home, put on a pair of leather ski gloves that are 1/2 size too small, pick up a pen and try to write. Then I'd go in the back where no-one could see me and have a good cry.

Anyway, that's when I learned you have to stop, take a moment to rest and if it still hurts, either figure a different way to do it or change the schedule. So I haul my carcass to the pool a couple of times a week now, paddle the barge up and down the lanes a few times. This week I went to one of the drop-in classes "Range of Motion" for us old stiffies. Man, I was the youngest one there - got chatted up by a couple of very old men and a few snotty looks from the old ladies who were probably part of the harem...It will be an interesting time over the next few months...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

man the pumps...or something like that

When I was a child, women stayed home. They gave up whatever they were doing and were fulfilled as homemakers. This is what had been done for generations (well, actually, not quite but that requires an comparison of pre and post industrial revolution society, a few paragraphs about the evolution of guilds in the 16th and 17th centuries, the rise of the mercantile class and the growth of the middle class in the 20th century).

TV shows and movies told us this was the way life was and it would make everyone happy. If it didn't make you happy, well, then you just weren't trying hard enough.
I've been meditating on the differences in attitude between then and now. The biggest thing is that nowadays it is permissible - just barely - to admit to being unhappy. There are drugs available that help a lot and the stigma is, while not gone completely, at least at the stage where most people don't want to appear to be insensitive about the issue.

This spring I went through a medical assessment to see if the stew of pills I'm taking to keep me on an even keel are still doing their job or if things can be fiddled with a bit more. What fun.
In the time I spent chatting with the good doctor, it became obvious to me just how much attitudes have changed since I was a child. I'd long known mom struggled with undiagnosed depression because it wasn't something proper people got.

As we talked, I began to see how she was self-medicating with alcohol and at least one other member of her family had prescribed himself a continual rye & ginger drip (mum's favorite was brandy with a bit of warm water starting, usually around lunch just before 'sleepy time'). I never mentioned to him she got a sizeable supply of valium too, under the table, through one of my cousins when he was a drug rep.

I remember being locked out of the house, 6 years old, home from school for lunch and unable to get in. By the time Mom showed up I was panicked, crying and terribly embarrased because I'd had to go to the bathroom when I first got home and couldn't wait anymore - I ended up soaking my leotards and leaving a sizeable puddle on the steps. I still remember her look of irritation; she told me not to fuss so much and said maybe now I'd understand what it was like when I went to a friend's house and didn't tell her where I was.

It's just too weird. I know that's not like all the dramatic material out there about child abuse - the joke in my family is I got one spanking in my life and my sister thinks I'm exaggerating. I mean, is that the worst thing I can dredge up? There wasn't anything really big. But what is normal to a seven year old? I didn't grow up in some one else's house so I have nothing to compare it with.
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