Golden Eggs ~ Late Evening Thoughts

With tropical storm Eduard bearing down, people are beginning preparations for what may/might happen … where I live in Houston, we will probably have plenty of rain and some wind. As with tropical storms/hurricanes they have a tendency to keep their intentions fairly close to the chest and don’t play their cards until the last possible moment.

Lat week I finally got a copy of a book that has been available for a number of years. I have e-mailed the author for permission to do some quotes from the book, but tonight I wanted to start with a story the author tells. It was a story I’d heard a number (?!) of times before – but where I am on this journey now – this time it really spoke to me on a number of different levels. (with apologies to Aesop and others)

There once was a man who by being blessed with good fortune was given a goose in exchange for some work that he did. While he was not happy with only getting a goose, he thought it would at least make a good dinner as it seemed very fat and actually quite content.

He took it home and placed the goose in a box by the fireplace so that it could stay warm and stay within sight.

In the morning when he looked in the box the goose had been in – he was astonished to see a golden egg. One golden egg. Knowing this was quite valuable, he took it into market and sold it for quite a good sum of money. He was pleased.

Each morning he checked the goose’s box and each morning there was yet another golden egg – each as valuable as the first one.

This went on for sometime and eventually the man became somewhat impatient. Rather than having just one egg a day, he began to wonder why they goose didn’t lay two or three. . . or even more.

He began to realize that the goose must have either gold inside or a lot of golden eggs. So, early one morning – right after the goose had laid yet another golden treasure, the man killed it.

He quickly cut it open expecting to find a treasure that would make him rich and powerful for his entire life. He was to find nothing other than what any goose or living creature would have inside.

And now, he was left with a hacked up goose not fit for cooking and no goose to lay golden eggs.

For years I’ve heard the “moral” of the story as “greed can overreach itself” or “haste makes waste” or “what some people have is never enough.” But there is a very different approach to the story that really had me evaluating my life and somethings that I’ve done. Not that they were “bad”, so to speak – but perhaps there might have been a better way…

–more tomorrow

By the way – I thought you might enjoy the Indian version of the story – this was translated and published in 1895.

The Golden Mallard
from The Jataka

Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born a Brahmin, and growing up was married to a bride of his own rank, who bore him three daughters named Nanda, Nanda-vati, and Sundari-nanda. The Bodhisatta dying, they were taken in by neighbors and friends, whilst he was born again into the world as a golden mallard endowed with consciousness of its former existences.

Growing up, the bird viewed its own magnificent size and golden plumage, and remembered that previously it had been a human being. Discovering that his wife and daughters were living on the charity of others, the mallard bethought him of his plumage like hammered and beaten gold and how by giving them a golden feather at a time he could enable his wife and daughters to live in comfort. So away he flew to where they dwelt and alighted on the top of the central beam of the roof. Seeing the Bodhisatta, the wife and girls asked where he had come from; and he told them that he was their father who had died and been born a golden mallard, and that he had come to visit them and put an end to their miserable necessity of working for hire.

“You shall have my feathers,” said he, “one by one, and they will sell for enough to keep you all in ease and comfort.”

So saying, he gave them one of his feathers and departed. And from time to time he returned to give them another feather, and with the proceeds of their sale these Brahmin women grew prosperous and quite well to do.

But one day the mother said to her daughters, “There’s no trusting animals, my children. Who’s to say your father might not go away one of these days and never come back again? Let us use our time and pluck him clean next time he comes, so as to make sure of all his feathers.”

Thinking this would pain him, the daughters refused.

The mother in her greed called the golden mallard to her one day when he came, and then took him with both hands and plucked him.

Now the Bodhisatta’s feathers had this property that if they were plucked out against his wish, they ceased to be golden and became like a crane’s feathers. And now the poor bird, though he stretched his wings, could not fly, and the woman flung him into a barrel and gave him food there. As time went on his feathers grew again (though they were plain white ones now), and he flew away to his own abode and never came back again.

A 60+ Stoner ~ Late Evening Thoughts

This chapter picks up from —here

Once taken into the surgical holy-of-holies, I was shown to a draped area with a bed and various machinery not for the faint of heart. I was handed two (not one) two surgical gowns to put on. As surgical gowns had been designed by Dr. Seymour Butts, this was a welcome change indeed. Now, the posterior areas would not be flapping in the breeze of hospital air conditioning…or so I thought. Alas, when the surgical nurse (have to use the right title here) came back. I was to put one on and the other would be put on after surgery. But, I need not have worried – once I got into the bed, I didn’t get to leave it.

And now the torture began. After the first surgical nurse left (having divested me of one of the gowns), a second one arrived – carrying a $4 cup of coffee. Sheer torture. Fortunately, he was but a moment and left with coffee intact very shortly. At that point, the anesthesiologist arrived without coffee and talked in detail about what they were going to do and how I would be “under” for the operation.

Those who know the story of a year ago, know that my last major surgery was not exactly a walk in the park going into it. I had shared that with my Dr., but had no idea he had shared it beyond that.

I was very glad to talk to the anesthesiologist and find out that I was NOT going to be given the paralyzing shot so common in operations, but would be a combination of gas and drugs. There was a lot more torture as various surgeons, interns and I swear there was a cleaning person all arrived in front of me – with cups of coffee. One person actually used the table by the end of MY bed to add his sugar … I was in agony.

I should have paid more attention to the next explanation but I didn’t. They were going to give me a nerve block in my upper legs which would relieve most of the pain over the next couple of days. This is important for later.

After that discussion the Dr. came to see me and made the usual poking of the leg, discussion with the nurse that was with him – and merely gave me “THE LOOK” for daring to joke about marking the leg to be operated on with an X. (Some surgeons are known for NOT having a sense of humor – mine included!)

At that point, the anesthesiologist was back with several additions to the IV that had been started in my arm. I felt wonderful!!!! Nothing hurt, I had a good grasp on reality and everything seems fuzzy and sharp at the same time. The bed I was on was the one I would be taken to surgery in – and off down the hall we went. By this point, the meds were beginning to take hold, and I was enthralled by the passing lights, and the people passing by. My mouth seemed a little fuzzy but I think I could still be understood, but frankly I have no idea what I said. Finally, it was through the doors and into the operating. I was feeling so good – getting onto the operating table was no problem. That’s because they didn’t move me until I was out. The anesthesiologist was talking about the mask in my ear, and it was placed over my nose/mouth and I did as I was told – to breathe deeply.

That was the last I remembered until I woke up in my hospital room. To say it took a few minutes to get focused would be a distinct understatement. Managed to see my daughter sitting in the room, and supposedly asked her if I’d had a good time at the party. I then remember various people suddenly (she says not suddenly, but over a period of time) converging around the bed to “fill me in” on all I needed to know. First off was an explanation of the machine in bed with me making my leg move up to my chest and then back down. A major annoyance during my stay, even if I was grateful that I would keep me from locking up the new knee. Then there was the physical therapist to point out what they would do later (Spanish Inquisition torture for 400 Alex.).

He finally left and the nurse came over to explain the pain pump next to my bed. In my foggy state I did manage to listen as she explained that every time the light came on I could press the button for pain medication. Please make not that she actually said could press it. As she was leaving, the light was on – (cue the Psycho violins here) – so I pressed it. And that’s what I did all afternoon to early evening.

I need to do a short explanation here (do I do anything short?). I am not a stoner but not by nature. With my compulsive/impulsive nature people are sometimes surprised. I simply can’t. Pot makes me incredibly physically miserable and very sick – which made me a real pain-in-the-butt in the Theater department in college. And none of the rest either because they don’t work in my system as -according to everyone else – they should.

So now, I have drugs blocking the pain in my knee, whatever was in the IV dripping away and I’m pressing the pain pump every time the light comes on…which seemed to be about every five minutes. At this point – even my daughter agrees- I had gone from operation drug lingering head long to a 60+ year older stoner (in case you hadn’t gotten that!!) I had several cell phone calls I don’t remember having, ate two meals which I don’t remember and several servings of ice cream – which was available anytime on the floor.

I was blissfully unaware – even though my daughter was telling me at the time I was beyond loopy and heading toward loony!! That blissfully unaware came to an end when I looked at the wallpaper above the sink in my room. I’ve included a picture of something similar – but mine was more gold, more washed and with some dark in it. (creepy music for 200 Alex) I was looking at the TV on the wall when I realized that the wall paper pattern was moving . . . around the wall. I did what any logical person would do in that situation and closed my eyes several times to see if it would go away.
It didn’t.

I realized right away that I was for the very first time in my life completely and absolutely stoned. I will say that it was frankly NOT a good sensation. (OK, DEA did that cover my probation?) I also knew exactly where the problem was and what needed to be done about it. At that point the nurse came in and we both basically started the same conversation . . . which in a nut shell was “the machine has to go.” She was trying to be diplomatic about it – I was being blunt. She wanted to re-set the timer (!!??) I wanted the thing gone. And shortly gone it was. Eventually the “trip” came to an end, the wallpaper stopped moving and the fuzz began to clear.

It especially cleared enough for me to concentrate on my nemesis since the beginning of time – the walker. Curse it as much as I did – it wouldn’t take the hint and leave. It just laid there against the wall and mocked me!!!

—more tomorrow

A 60+ S_ ONE R ~ Early Evening Thoughts

Picking up from —here

Everyone knows what a hospital waiting room looks like, sounds like and very often smells like. They are often places of frenetic activity, unintelligible or delivered in code intercom calls . . . and frankly smell like hospital.

I was not prepared for this entrance/waiting room. There was the tranquil sounds of fountains and a full sized grand piano was being played by ghostly hands. OK, that was a slight exaggeration – it was a player grand piano. Turning to the right, there was a marble topped circular desk with someone in coat and tie standing behind it. I was tempted to go outside and see if I had been delivered to a funeral home by mistake. Everything seemed so peaceful and didn’t smell. It turns out that the gentleman behind the desk if the first person everyone talks to before entering the rest of the hospital.

He takes your information (actually listening I might add!) and then calls whoever you are supposed to see and they will come an get you. If necessary, he will take you to where you need to go. No wandering aimlessly around the hallways trying to remember if you were told turn left, then right – go up five steps and “shake it all about.”

There were several reasons they went with the set-up the way they have it. First of all it help control traffic and also it help convince people that they are known and expected. Of course, visitors check-in and go up to the rooms.

Anyway, hospital registration came out to get me as I waited in nice comfy chairs – by a window wall and listened to the water wall and piano. I was taken to a glass enclosed area to begin the sign all the papers required and make sure all the payments had been recorded. Within a very short delightful time, I had my wrist band and the nurse came and got me for the necessary testing that had to be done.

Before going into the testing area, she took me on a tour of the floor where I would be staying – showed me a room (I was beginning to wonder if I would be expected to buy a time-share plan before I would get out). And we grabbed a fresh cup of coffee from the floor waiting area. Already I was falling in love – they had good coffee!! Once ensconced in the testing area, two nurses went to work on me. The only complaint I had was that one cup of coffee was not going to be able to replace the gallon (so it seemed to me) of blood they drew. OK, the 2nd complaint had to do with those little gluey pads they use for EKG’s. But that has more to do with glue and chest hair. . . and there’s not much anyone can do about that. And then, we were done. Because I had come in before the day of surgery, I was given a reprieve on arrival time on Friday. I didn’t need to be there until 5:30am!! Not much of an improvement, but at that time of day (Is it really a time of day?) I’ll take what I can get!!

So now I was free until Friday morning – about 33 hours away. Just enough time to go home, and brace myself for nothing to eat or drink after 10pm on Thursday. Of course, that gave me sometime to surf the net and discover all sorts of things I didn’t want to know about the operation. . . and anesthetic. I know I should have stopped reading, but it was as if I was watching a car wreck. I just kept looking.

“Achmed was supposed to pick me up Friday in time to make the 5:30am deadline. At about 5:00am I get a phone call they he can’t pick me up, but one of his friends is going to be there and the “friend” knew where the hospital was. “Friend” did NOT know where the hospital was – and “Achmed” was giving him directions the entire way – very loudly – over the cell phone. And we did make the appointed time. Again, check in at desk, registration comes and gets me and I get a wrist band – which includes a picture, by the way. No mistaking who I am that’s for sure!! Registration takes me to the surgery floor, and there is the ONLY place I’ve had to wait for any length of time…along with the others scheduled for early morning surgery.

We did get to laughing as the waiting became a test of endurance. Right across from where we were waiting was an area for families to wait while surgery was being done. The area was filled with coffee, colas and rolls and such. It was very hard to behave – let me tell you. Especially seeing the coffee …. especially the coffee.

Eventually, we were released from the torment and taken back to begin the final part of this story … and of course the last letter in the hangman puzzle in the heading.

–more tomorrow.

A 60+ S_ O _E R ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Continuing from —last night— ~

By now the horrors (as I called them) had begun to run out of steam. I had assured all of them that I wasn’t going to end up a bed-ridden cripple, that I was not going to have to sell my first born to pay the bills (although when he was growing up ~ ah, let’s not go there!) and that whatever path the recovery took I would be just fine …

I then had D & D to deal with. They had decided that there was no way I was going to be able to go through the operation and recover by myself ~ and that they were going to be there every step of the way. Which normally, I wouldn’t have minded ~ but the thought of them fluttering around the hospital bed and then fluttering in and out of my apartment while I was recovering was just a bit more than I wanted to even think about let alone deal with. (hysteria by proxy for 600, Alex)

Don’t get me wrong, they have been and are good friends ~ in very defined doses. Fortunately my daughter was taking over that portion of the watch, and she definitely didn’t need any help. So, not only would she be around after the operation, but would carefully monitor my being at home.

By this time ~ a week before the operation ~ the hospital, doctor/surgeon’s office, anesthesiologist and medical equipment rental decided they would need to be paid. I was informed these people would be calling me and to be prepared for sticker shock.

And I was . . . there was a middle-man in what I was beginning to call “Behind The Operating Room Door” and if you’re too young (or too innocent) to get that reference ~ send me an E-mail and I’ll send you a link. The reason he was in the middle was his delightful personality, his willingness to help, his lawyer skills and a company American Express that could take the charges and I would then pay back from the inheritance.

None of us knew what anyone was going to charge ~ but as a cash up-front patient, I was sure there would be some kind of discount…which I was prepared to ask for.

Believe it or not, the first call was the hospital and I almost wished I had delayed all this several weeks. After my experience of calling all the “medical center” hospitals ~ I was prepared for 1)rudeness and 2) an astronomical price tag. I received neither. The business office was incredibly helpful and let’s just say that I was going to be able to get BOTH knees done for the price of ONE at the other hospitals. (blue light special for 300, Alex)

So, when all the calls were done and everyone had the money they needed ~ I began to stump (I certainly wasn’t able to dance!) around the apartment singing “Signed – Sealed – Delivered!” When you have to sit down every few moments to let the knees recover, it somewhat takes the fun out of the celebration!!

The Doctor had given me his instructions on a much copied copy of a copy. But the hospital was quite insistent that I either come down on Wednesday and pre-register and get the necessary paperwork and test done, or I would have to do the morning before surgery. Dear me, what a difficult choice!! (Remember, I’m the one that wasn’t sure 5am was an actual time of day!) So, Wednesday afternoon it was off to find the hospital and get the tests done.

Since I’m still not driving (that IS going to change no matter what my son-in-law says!!) I either take the bus or a taxi. In this case, taxi seemed preferable. . . that way two of us could get lost. At this time I had a driver that I used all the time. He was quite good, knew the city and we had a number of pleasant conversations. He was Muslim and spent most of the trips discussing religion with me … I had always maintained that iron sharpens iron … and as the conversations were never arguments I had begun to look forward to them. Of course, I referred to him to my daughter and my friends as “Achmed, the dead terrorist.***” Knowing that if I every accidentally called him that or explained it . . . I would be in deep trouble. (non-famous deaths for 600, Alex)

Off we went – I had the address and the approximate location of the hospital, he was convinced, as always, that I had no idea where it was and he did. The discussion was lively and interesting ~ but alas, he is too serious to have much of a sense of humor. But that certainly never stopped his trying to convert me and/or all in my family.

We did find the hospital (I was right ~ he wasn’t but never admitted it) and I walked into one of the biggest surprises I’ve had in a long, long time.

—more tomorrow and another clue in the hangman puzzle of the title

*** for those of you you didn’t understand the Achmed reference ~ here is ventriloquist Jeff Dunham and Achmed. My grand kids think he is hysterical, however we did have to explain to the youngest that going through one of the box stores saying loudly: “silence ~ I kill you!” was not really a good idea!!!

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-7312667536368258282&hl=en&fs=true

Erin Go . . . ~ Late Evening Thoughts

To say that last week was interesting would be an understatement. It was a wild, intense and one where a lot was accomplished. Not easily ~ not always with charm ~ not always without some stress. But then the weekend had arrived and I was “good to go.” Little did I know it should have gotten up and gone!

I was especially looking forward to Sunday when someone that I have gotten to know quite well and I were going to have a quick sandwich and coffee at a small streetside cafe and then spend the afternoon exploring Half Price Books. We had arranged to meet at the cafe around 1:30 in the afternoon. This would still give plenty of time for enjoying the book store. Around 10:00 in the morning I began to get text messages and then phone calls changing the time and location of where we were to meet. Finally I told that the place we would meet would be La Strada. (cue mournful music here.) This establishment was an attempt at an upscale Italian restaurant. Fortunately, they managed the upscale and the upscale price part. Unfortunately, (as far as I was concerned) they didn’t manage the food part.

I decided that I would have some dessert and let that be that.
I headed out on the adventure of the day. (cue Psycho violins here.)

When I arrived at the place, I realized even before I got to the door, there had been a change. The place was very noisy…very noisy. I though maybe it was because the windows on the street were open but then as I approached the door I had the reality hit me ~ this was not the case at all.

The upscale restaurant had become (on Sundays) a 21 (barely) and up (barely) party central location. It’s a little hard to remain upscale when all the drinks are being served in plastic glasses – coffee in foam cups!! And the place was packed. I realized that probably 80% of the boys “guy’s” voices hadn’t changed (21??) and NONE of the women’s voiced had progressed beyond grade school. It was as if I were at a Hanna Montana concert that was never going to start.

My friend? He was at the bar trying very hard to get under it – I think. To say that he had been drinking his lunch would have been been an understatement. He had used all the breakfast, dinners AND lunches for three weeks or more. I am now surrounded by people in high-pitched shriek(s) and a very intoxicated friend who is pawing me and giving me bone crushing bear hugs inbetween telling me what I was going to do and asking me for money. Great conversation points there!!

And, of course, Monday was St. Patrick’s Day . . . I found something very interesting and decided to end tonight’s post with these VERY clever cell phone charms from Japan. They are called the 6 stages of drunkenness ~

the first stage is the lecture stage: “Let me tell you something … over and over and over…

The rest and the conclusion tomorrow …

It’s A Matter Of The Heart ~ Late (to me) Evening Thoughts


It’s been a very crazy week ~ and it’s only Wednesday!!!! I’ve been helping D&D in the flower shop they work at … a small busy shop with L A R G E personalities… My job has been to answer the phone and take orders. I would estimate that there were 150 arrangements that were delivered today and I believe there are over 250 for tomorrow! So, posting, cleaning the house and getting much of anything done has been put on hold for Friday….

Here’s my thoughts on Valentine’s Day — obviously colored by my week with flowers!!

The Fault – Dear Brutus – Lies Not In The Stars ~ Late Evening Thoughts

I would love nothing better than to blame everything on Time Warner’s (completed today) take over by Comcast.

Unfortunately, the fact that my cold has moved into my chest causing some problems, is certainly not their fault.

The fact that my internet connection is acting strangely just might be.

Whatever is going on ~ there will be no post tonight. Tomorrow, I ~ hopefully ~ will be back in full health with a full internet connection. . . and no Nyquil in my system.