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Professor Liddle-Oldman

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Drive, She Said [Jun. 29th, 2015|10:02 pm]
Professor Liddle-Oldman
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So last Saturday we went down to Prime Hyundai (nee Tom O'Brien Hyundai) to look at cars. I find it interesting that they're near the former site of the Fore River Shipyard (founded by the Watson of Bell's "Come here, Mr. Watson"), which went bankrupt and closed years ago in the face of Asian shipyards, and from which the enormous Goliath crane was disassembled and shipped to Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea. Be that as it may, after some back and forth we bought a 2016 Elantra to replace the 2010 Elantra we'd lost. The manufacturer was offering a rebate, and we'll get the settlement check this week, and the lovely Mrs. P. bargained them down a few hundred more. We actually only spent about $2500 more than we had five years ago. I picked the new car up today, registered, inspected, and insured, and it's sitting outside the window as I type.

We go see the radiation oncologist Wednesday. Thursday I'm going out to help my mother pack and tidy. She's doing well, but she's in her upper 80's, and her husband is in care, so she's alone in the house. My sister and her husband own a B&B just outside Davis Square in Cambridge, catering to the tweedy crowd, and they're doing well enough that they bought a second house on the block and are converting it into more rooms. They're building an in-law apartment into it, and my mother will move in there. She'll be close to but not on top of my sister, and she can be the house mother, as it were; an in-house presence to troubleshoot and put out breakfast. Given the realities of age and entropy, we think it's a pretty elegant solution. But she's lived in this house for like thirty years, and one accumulates a lot of stuff.

Tomorrow, I'm thinking maybe ironing.
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Patch, Patch, Patch [Jun. 25th, 2015|08:43 pm]
Professor Liddle-Oldman
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Rescued everything from the poor Elantra. (Except, I realized today that I forgot to take the transponder for the tolls.) Took some pictures to remember it by. Felt very sad sitting in the driver's seat for the last time.

The new credit cards came today. I called them in. We're Americans again; we can charge things.

Mrs. P's IT department called her a while back to say that they were swapping out everyone's laptops. They worked out a deal where they would ship her a loaner; she would ship back her laptop; they would do the swapout and ship it back; she would ship back the loaner. it occurred to me that I could drive out to Lexington, now, and do the switch directly. She set it up, and I did that today, came home with a new Thinkpad and docking station. We'll set them up tomorrow. I got to eat lunch at Via Largo, and to look through the book sale at the Lexington library as well (from which I made many posts the last time I was out of work.)

Mrs. P called the state and got the lost transponder turned off and they're sending a new one.

Bit by bit we're climbing back on top of the barrel. Of course, now I have to go fill in the accident report. And file for unemployment tomorrow. (So many people are out of work that they divide us up by SS# and assign days we can file on -- only way to not overwhelm the systems.) But I'd stocked up on beer before I was jettisoned, so that's a positive too.

Still upset, but getting there. More beer may be called for.
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Philosophy [Jun. 22nd, 2015|09:08 pm]
Professor Liddle-Oldman
This reminds me, though, of that uplifting saying -- when god closes a door, he also kicks you in the balls.
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The Morning After A New Death Is Always The Same [Jun. 22nd, 2015|09:05 pm]
Professor Liddle-Oldman

To explicate the lovely Mrs. Professor's ongoing issue, they found something on the mammogram they didn't like. They found something in the needle biopsy they didn't like. They did an exisionary biopsy (if I remember the phrase correctly), which is to say they scooped out a chunk of her personal bosom. The area they were looking at was ductal hyperplasia, but, oops, they also found a tumor. Luckily, if one is going to have breast cancer, this is the type to have -- the oncologist called it "indolent", they got it all, the margins are good, and it probably would never have caused her major trouble anyway. The treatment is six weeks of radiation and five years of hormone therapy, with an estrogen agonist, as the tumor eats estrogen and progesterone. The outlook is good, though the near future is aggravating. That's six weeks of radiation, daily, downtown. (NE Medical Center, near Chinatown. Close, but a traffic nightmare.)

Just to help us out, someone stole our credit card number. The bank called to ask if we'd really spent $300 on a Brazilian wax. We hadn't. We have no credit card until the new ones arrive, which should be tomorrow or the next day.

When they do, I have to go to the car rental place and give them the new number. Sadly, I have to go down to the body shop, across from the rental place, tomorrow, to get our stuff out of the car, which is totaled. Everything forward of the radiator is several inches to the right of where it started, and they figured it would be ten thousand dollars of repair on a car with an auction value of around $8200. So, Saturday, I guess, we have to drive the rental Camry down to the Hyundai dealer and look at new cars.

At least I'm catching up on sleep (I was down to four or five hours a night), and can do things like iron, instead of working an ungrateful job. I'm still aggrieved.
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Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln... [Jun. 17th, 2015|05:32 pm]
Professor Liddle-Oldman
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[mood |crappy]

Today is not going well.

This morning I got fired from my job. Apparently my communication skills are not sufficiently client-facing, or something like that.

So I came home and went out for lunch to cheer up and killed the car by slamming it into a Lexus while I was trying to merge onto Freeport St.

The silver lining to the firing is that now I can accompany the lovely Mrs. Professor to her various appointments and radiation therapy for her breast cancer.

I would not be astonished to be hit by a meteor this evening.
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Sweating With The Old-os [May. 26th, 2015|03:43 pm]
Professor Liddle-Oldman
Once again, springtime in Boston was otherwise referred to as "Tuesday". We've gone from burping the heat in the morning to humid heat in, what, two weeks. One night we slept under the quilt; the next night damp under a sheet.

I've said this before, but it's all about who used our weather last. Is the wind off the Gulf of Mexico, or is it off Hudson's Bay? (And has it ever occurred to you that Hudson is still up there somewhere around his euphonious waterway?)

Now begins the season where I will be griping, whinging, snivelling, sweating, and grumbling about the weather. The big AC is installed; I'll have to put the other two in this week. You know how last winter I promised I'd never complain about the heat again? Turns out I lied.

Well, happy spring -- whoops, there it goes -- happy summer. A month to the Solstice, five weeks to the Glorious Fourth. And about six weeks until we go up to the lake and spend two weeks swimming and sitting on the screened porch. Summer. not all bad. Unless your shorts are sticking to you and a mosquito flew in your ear.
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Time and the River [May. 4th, 2015|10:03 am]
Professor Liddle-Oldman
Just dropped in for a moment to deliver the poem from this morning's Writer's Almanac, which is terribly sad but perfectly expresses how I feel -- though of course it's my parent's generation:

My Grandparents' Generation
by Faith Shearin

They are taking so many things with them:
their sewing machines and fine china,
their ability to fold a newspaper
with one hand and swat a fly.
They are taking their rotary telephones,
and fat televisions, and knitting needles,
their cast iron frying pans, and Tupperware.
They are packing away the picnics
and perambulators, the wagons
and church socials. They are wrapped in
lipstick and big band music, dressed
in recipes. Buried with them: bathtubs
with feet, front porches, dogs without leashes.
These are the people who raised me
and now I am left behind in
a world without paper letters,
a place where the phone
has grown as eager as a weed.
I am going to miss their attics,
their ordinary coffee, their chicken
fried in lard. I would give anything
to be ten again, up late with them
in that cottage by the river, buying
Marvin Gardens and passing go,
collecting two hundred dollars.

"My Grandparents' Generation" by Faith Shearin from Telling the Bees. © Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2015. Reprinted with permission.
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Bare Ruined Choirs, Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang. [Apr. 23rd, 2015|12:47 pm]
Professor Liddle-Oldman
23 April 2015

As part of my brain's determination to harsh any mellow and to find the despair in any joy, it collects death poetry. Good death poetry. Edna St. Vincent Millay, Christina Rossetti. And Shakespeare, which they ran in this morning's Writer's Almanac.

That time of year thou mayst in me behold,
When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day,
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self that seals up all in rest.
In me thou seest the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed, whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.
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The Professor Understands That "Highmasters" Is Already Taken [Apr. 17th, 2015|11:42 am]
Professor Liddle-Oldman
17 April 2015

It was at one time taken as an article of faith that all of the major tobacco companies had already chosen and trademarked their brand names for when Mary-Gee-Juanita, dope, grass, boo, the Devil's Weed, reefer, was finally legalized and they could roll 'em and sell 'em. For all I know, it's perfectly true, though I imagine all the canned TV ads have been retired, now that you can't shill smoking material on the tube anymore.

With this in mind, I have decided on the premier brand name for my start-up when sense finally prevails and drugs are finally legalized. Look for the Easy-Bake label for your guarantee of fine smoking pleasure and about three hours of looking at your hands.
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Just For Once, I Would Like To Face An Alien Menace That Was Not Impervious To Bullets [Apr. 9th, 2015|11:15 am]
Professor Liddle-Oldman
9 April 2015

I had what I experience as an amusing thought this morning.

For perfectly valid reasons I shan’t bore you with (Sheldon was cosplaying him, badly), I was contemplating the Fourth Doctor as I shaved this morning. Everyone tends to cosplay Four, and his image is often a shortcut or a coded reference; you see the hat and the scarf, you know it’s about Doctor Who. I’ve been on knitting sites which had a special page about how to discourage your friends from asking you to knit the 16-foot accessory, which is a passle of knitting.

As everyone knows, Four’s outfit is based on a Toulouse-Lautrec poster. You’ve seen it. I had a thought, though – everyone knows that Four’s outfit is based on the poster. But how do we know it isn’t the other way around? It’s more than perfectly possible that the artist was merely documenting an interesting encounter he had just had, and adding one more paradox to the interwoven, complicated, timey-wimey tangle.
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