Thursday, February 21, 2013

What a difference a day makes!

The week started out badly for me. I woke up Monday morning and couldn't put any weight on my left foot. Did I ninja-kick the wall during the night? Trip on my way to a midnight run to the fridge and not remember it? Fight off aliens who tried to beam me up?

It was puzzling. I was not happy.

It's amazing how hard it is to do things when your left leg is useless and everything becomes an effort. I bottomed down the stairs to the kitchen, sat down to breakfast and realized I forgot to bring my coffee over to the table. Where were my raisins?--still in that cabinet that was so far away. I was exhausted by the time I finished eating and then thought of all the things I had left upstairs--my favorite foot cream, my book, my chapstick, my comfy socks. I would just have to do without.

I sat down to my computer and the rest of the day went pretty well, since that's how I usually spend it anyway. Meals and bathroom trips were a trial, but Gary was helpful when he got home.

The next day was more of the same-crawled to the bathroom at night, since I didn't want to deal with the cane and felt sorry for myself that I would probably just be this way the rest of my life. Ponderings at 2 AM tend to be melodramatic.

By Wednesday morning, I was actually feeling better, could put some weight down on the foot and limp around without a cane. Problem was I had the orthopedist scheduled at 4pm. Should I cancel now? Best to get the xray, I thought, but I was actually embarrassed to be feeling so much better. I decided to still use the cane and, like one of those bad comedy sketches, I limped into the office, sometimes favoring the wrong foot. To be honest, I don't think any of the staff really cared. I was one of many "add ins" at the end of the day, so they had one eye on the clock.

Good news is the xray was fine. I was diagnosed as having an "overuse injury", due to going to a museum on Sunday, walking and standing more than I usually do. That's overuse? Pathetic. I'd feel better if I could at least attribute it to a 10 mile run or a strenuous hike. I guess I need to push past my current exercise regimen of walking to the mailbox every day.

I was so excited today on my new found mobility that I've been up and down stairs at least a dozen times. "Look at me," I want to shout. I can do anything! (except maybe get out of my pjs before noon)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

I love this Valentine card/fan that my grandfather sent to my grandmother when they were "courting."

To my Heart's Elect. Sweetheart think of me.

What the bee is to the floweret,
When he looks for honey-dew,
Through the leaves that close embower it,
That, my love, I'll be to you.

What the bank with verdure glowing,
Is to waves that wander near,
Whispering kisses, while they're going,
That I'll be to you, my dear.

With love and devotion. My heart's gift.

I googled the poem and found out it was written by Thomas Moore, the Irish Catholic son of a Dublin grocer, and published in Irish Melodies between 1807 and 1834 with accompanying music.

According to  Moore, despite his humble background, "became the fashionable versifier of Regency England. His Irish Melodies ... were an immense success, and for many years his wit, charm, liberalism, and singing voice made him a brilliant figure in literary and social circles, especially among the aristocratic Whig reformers. The same qualities made him one of Byron's closest friends. He wrote numerous satires, lampoons, and prose pieces." This poem was sung to the tune of The Yellow Horse, an Irish melody described as a "lively dance tune."

The card and its history seem fitting for James Connell, a working class Irishman in 1908, from Jersey City, to send to his 27 year old sweetheart, Miss Mary (Daisy) Bailey of Hoboken.

I also love the handwritten note on the back of the fan:
"Miss D. Bailey Feb14th 08 From Jim"

An elaborately scripted letter F (which could have started out as an L)  makes me wonder if my grandfather debated signing the card "Love". But, I'm not sure that would have been a popular closing in 1908, where more formal language and customs prevailed. (I think that's part of our collective fascination with Downton Abbey--we are enamored of the formal manners of society, both upstairs and down--and, of course, the British accents help.)

As a footnote to the valentine, my grandparents were married two years later and raised six children in Hoboken and later North Bergen. My grandfather worked hard as supervisor of a large department of workers at the local power company. He died in his early 50's of a heart attack, when my mother was just graduating high school at age 16. My grandmother Daisy lived until age 91 and loved to sing. Her favorite song? --- Not The Yellow Horse or What the Bee is to the Floweret, but Daisy Bell with the familiar chorus of Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do.  Perhaps that was how James proposed?