My Cat Has Diabetes! Yay! Kinda!

August 19th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Once your cat is diagnosed and starts insulin they very quickly become healthy again. So there’s that. They feel better. Yay!

Then there’s the price tag. Finney’s insulin is $278.99 and that’s with a 10% discount from my pharmacist!! He gets an insulin called Lantus, something that I don’t remember being around when my other cats had diabetes. But it seems to be very well tolerated by cats (all insulins on the market were developed for humans) so I’m happy to have my bank account drained by it.

The best price I could find for it elsewhere was $209.99 from Drs. Foster and Smith, except they say it has to be shipped overnight because of the refrigeration issues, and that costs $24.99. I’ll take the $44 savings, but I’d like to do better.

Please look away now Fed-Lurkers: Does anyone have any experience buying from pharmacies in Canada?

Here is my diabetic cat Finney taking a nap. I’m glad you’re feeling better little guy. I’m sorry again about Bleecker. (My new kitten who terrorizes/won’t stop trying to play with him.)

My Diabetic Cat

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There Will Always Be News

August 18th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I like to stop and read the plaques on park benches. The one below was dedicated to newspaperman Dennis Duggan. I googled Duggan and read his ode to the Lion’s Head, a bar in my neighborhood that I used to go to on occasion that’s now closed. His essay described a newspaper world gone by and it was particularly poignant after having just read David Carr’s Print is Down, and Now Out. I’ve been riding this wave of nostalgia about print news ever since re-reading Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. There were some beautiful passages about working at a newspaper in that book.

But now it’s time to lay a wreath and fully embrace the new world that the kids today will be mourning the loss of in the not too distant future. (I say “fully” because I already love it.) (PS: I won’t miss the sexism. Which I’m pretty sure will still be around for a while to come.)

Dennis Duggan
New York City Newspaperman
October 12, 1927 — April 20, 2006
A heart so grand
A spirit so generous
… and we’ll all go together

Dennis Duggan, Abingdon Square Park, New York

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Why I hate the Word “Whining”

August 17th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I just read a review of a great writer and in it the reviewer complained about the author “whining” too much. I couldn’t believe they described what she’d written as whining, but it also made me furious. I’d thought that I only got mad when someone characterized my writing as “whining.” But it turns out it’s the word that I find so infuriating. The minute I realized that it became obvious why.

The reviewer is saying one of the following to the writer: Your problems are trivial and you should just shut up. You are being a baby. You complain too much.

When it was used to describe something I’d written I thought, “Well, I’m not dying of cancer. And I do complain a lot.” (It took years of therapy to learn how, and I’m very proud. Thank you, J.C.)

But the issues in this particular book were serious, and there isn’t anything about her writing that is even the least bit “whiney”. It was insane. My friend Chris pointed out that “whining” is used almost exclusively to describe the complaints of women. You almost never hear someone describe a man as whining. In any case, it’s a belittling, dismissive word.

Reviewers can say whatever they want, of course. Everyone is entitled to their opinion! Someone is going to come along, read this post, and think: “Oh quit whining.”

A screenshot from a short video I took of a dress rehearsal for a concert of Eric Whitacre’s music. This was at Carnegie Hall. It looks like he’s saying, “Hallelujah!”

Eric Whitacre, Carnegie Hall, New York City

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Deja Vu

August 15th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I have a feeling I might have posted a picture of the building below before. It’s in my neighborhood and every time I pass it by I think how nice it must be to live inside there and to look out through all that greenery. From the inside it must look like you live in a forest.

Miles Swum So Far in City Lap Swim Contest: 45 + 105 laps. I might be over-doing the swimming a bit. Last night I walked home from the pool and I felt good, but a bit weary. I might take tonight off. We shall see.


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Robin Williams, Depression, and My One Tip

August 13th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

I don’t really have a lot to add about Robin William’s suicide. Only that I went through a severe depression when I was in my twenties, and I remember learning that if you ever experience depression you are at risk for repeat episodes for the rest of your life.

I can’t tell you the terror I felt hearing that. I simply cannot go through that again. I think people who haven’t experienced depression think of it as extreme sadness or something. Not fun of course, but not the end of the world. The reality is, the best way I can describe it is you feel nothing, but it’s the most painful, all consuming, choking, life-draining, horrible nothing you can possibly imagine.

It’s so bad that the thought of enduring it again makes me understand what Robin Williams did. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m not condoning it, I’m just saying I get it. I’ve been lucky. I never experienced depression again. If I went through it repeatedly throughout my life as I hear he did I don’t see how I could last. Far from being weak, Robin Williams must have been a fucking towering monster of strength.

Also, I just realized that when I went through my depression I was young. What would it be like to go through a depression now?? Back then I could tell myself I had decades and decades to work it all out. One more thing, if you drink or do drugs in response to depression you’re doomed. But I am also an alcoholic, so again, if I went through depression on and off throughout my life I can easily see taking up drinking again eventually. (I stopped drinking during my depression and haven’t had alcohol since.) I’d be so beaten down by the repeat episodes I do anything for relief.

I’ve spent a lifetime making lists of things that lift me out of a bad mood. It’s all about forestalling depression. Things like therapy, singing, meditation, doing something nice for someone else, going to the movies, an extremely healthy meal (very effective), sitting by a body of water and reading. But the one thing I’ve found that is the most sure-fire is exercise. I discovered this one late in life and it also took me a while to find forms of exercise that didn’t feel like work, like swimming, my main form of exercise now. No matter how bad I feel when I begin, I’m fine when I’m done. It never ever fails. NEVER.

The thing is, remembering what I was like when I went through my depression, I wonder if I could have made myself exercise while I was right in the thick of it? Depression pretty much completely immobilized me. Here’s what I would tell myself to try to get myself to do it: I know you don’t want to do it, I know you think you can’t, but just do it, just get up and do it, even though every fiber of your being is saying you can’t. As a reward, you can not move for the rest of the day, guilt-free. You’re off the hook. Knock yourself out. Curl right up.

It’s just a theory, but I think if you can somehow manage to make yourself go for a swim (or something else) it would lift you out of that blackness just enough that you wouldn’t want to crawl back into immobility. Maybe pick a movie theatre a decent distance away and walk to it. The movie at the end would be the reward (it’s also an effective mood-lifter I’ve found, even if the movie sucked).

Also very high on my list: pets. (Except then when they die. In which case you must get another pet as soon as possible even though it feels like a betrayal. It isn’t.) Here are my two amazing, wonderful depression-forestallers.


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