Saturday, December 04, 2010

Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night, BlogDog. But if you do take along clean underwear. ;-)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

In Extremis
Ave atque vale. I've had a good time. A lot of posts, several years and more blog friends than I could count without having to take my shoes off twice. But the BlogDog component of Pugs of War is going dark. As I said before, leaving the keys on the dashboard but waking away from the car.
I leave both Paul and the Enigmatic Misanthrope with door keys, though both of those gentlemen seem to have found their niches in what Billy Beck both amusingly and accurately calls the "Hello Kitty of blogging," Facebook. I have deactivated my Facebook account and currently have doubts that I'll reactivate it. But that possibility remains.

In mid November I had a breakdown in health of epic proportions. What started as a pressure sore on my right shin turned into a raging, infected open wound that was growing and, in a word I heard a nurse use and immediately recognized as the mote juste, purulent. This was complicated by what I thought was a contact dermatitis as I was chair bound with a very difficult wound. I saw my doctor who gave me an antibiotic scrip (which turned out not to have any effect on what was raging through me) and I had an appointment with a wound treatment center nearby. But I promised myself that the night before I was to go in for that appointment I would assess myself and see if I could get myself thereto. If not, I would dial 911.

Sunday night I was taken to Inova Loudoun Hospital where I spent the next two days in the ICU and the rest of a full week in care of a collection of the most wonderful nurses and assistants it has ever been my experience to be tended by.
I can't say that I was particularly near death but in reality, it could well have happened. My stay has resulted in findings of several health problems that I was previously unaware of and was happier not knowing (the ER EKG showed an atrial flutter that has me now on Coumadin). Now, I'm less likely to die or stroke out than I was just a week ago. I'm home, still trying to shake off the vestiges of the over-all rash, on a thrice daily IV antibiotic drip and with a fistful of doctor's appointments upcoming. And soon to be having a double fistful of bills.
I still feel like a small version of hell but not too long ago I felt like the full on, Satan on my chest, demons scampering through my veins thing. Looks like I will live through this since I have been given a rather explicit demonstration of the caring of friends who have made both my hospital stay and my transition to home just hugely easier. David, Michael, Ed, may you have the blessings of God for now and ever for saving my life. And an outpouring of affection from friends more distant. It was, I can say without fear of contradiction, the worst Thanksgiving I can ever recall yet I am left with the crystal-clear assurance that I have so much to be thankful for that I can not adequately express my thanks. It's a life lesson as long as life is not lost.

So why is this my valedictory? Because I have to change. I have to be a different person than I've been for something on the order of the last two decades. As hard as it is to make incremental changes, I'm a fan of ripping the bandage off quickly. And my Pugs of War is one of the casualties of life. The title has long been superannuated and I have lost the momentum of interesting posting. I look at Joe Sherlock's excellent "View Through the Windshield" and see how it's done: interesting aggregation with intelligent comments done with regularity. I've dropped those irons in the fire for quite a while now and they're too hot to pick up again. It's possible I may undertake a new blogging adventure but it will be entirely personal and I may just keep it as a journal. But the healer of wounds, Time the Avenger, will have much to dictate in that regard.
I will miss the friends I've made. The (at symbol) Gmail dot thingie address will still be alive for those who want to get in touch. I wish nothing but good fortune and sunny skies with just enough rain to keep the crops going to all of you. But as of now, I am no longer here.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Keys Are On The Dashboard
The engine is no longer idling. There's gas in the tank and the driver has stepped away from the vehicle. Final thoughts probably tomorrow.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

There Will Be No Blogging
For a while. It's getting into the ramp-up to Thanksgiving and I've got a pretty serious health problem that will probably be taking up a lot of time as well. Though it will be interesting to learn about the exciting field of wound closure. Something new. To me.
UPDATE: The wheels of medicine grind exceedingly slow. I have an appointment at the Wound Healing Center on Monday next. Today I have to get out and get my scrip filled.
UPDATE: Running on Keflex and water. I have made my lower leg the honorary eighth dwarf: Weepy. Yeah, gross. Sorry. Just sucks to be me right now. This, however, a condition I would gladly wish on my worst enemy. INTRADAY UPDATE: A very good friend came over to help get some sustenance and, despite my revulsion at consuming anything, I drank a glass of milk and ate a Lean Cuisine meal. Also had some diet Dr Pepper which was like nectar. It's easier to hydrate with a fluid that goes down like silk. And apart from all the leg rot, I'm feeling better. The prickly rash I'm developing (contact dermatitis, but to what?) is not helping.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

That Old Shakespearean Rag
Yes, autumn is well and truly upon us. Yesterday I worked with my nice next door neighbor who raked leaves from both our tiny yards into a pile on my driveway where I was able to suck them up the leaf vac and bag the shreds. I have mulch!

Friday, November 05, 2010

It Was A Wonderful Night
Thursday night I finally got to see a singer whose work I have long been enamored of and even posted about just below: Basia Trzetrzelewska (link goes to WikiPedia for a detailed look at her). I can't recall how many years ago by brother Michael gave me her "Basia On Broadway" double live CD but I was about three songs into it when I was gobsmacked by her talent. Obviously, I'm a slow learner. Compounded by the fact that I'd never even heard of her before. But I assiduously set about to collect her entire self-titled oeuvre.Which I have done. I would also like to take this moment to point out that she has done a lot of work with the superb guitarist Peter White. It really doesn't hurt to have just some of the best musicians in the genre to provide the sound behind the singer.
Which also leads to a couple of notes about the show on Thursday. The stage was pretty full: drummer, guitarist (Peter White had an obligation elsewhere so a very talented fill in was there), Danny White (Peter's brother) on keyboards, a flautist/saxophonist/percussion player, the chick singers and Basia herself. And what a polyglot crowd it was on stage. Danny White and the drummer (who really did a fabulous job - great rhythms and never overwhelmed the music) are Brits. Basia is, of course, Polish. The guitarist was Corsican and the twins who sang backup (and some lead) were Mauritian! From the town of Quatre Bornes in fact, not too terribly far from the town of Vacoas in which the residence of the US ambassador is located. Very lovely ladies who were rather surprised when I asked where in Mauritius they were from. It is a wonderful world wherein a group of people from those
scattered corners of the world can come together on a stage and make beautiful music. I won't say "it doesn't get any better than this" because what if I won the lottery and hired these folks to play a concert for me and my friends. That would be better. But it was awfully damned good.
I can't reproduce the set list although she opened with her wonderful ballad "Yearning." And she sang every song I really wanted to hear. Her take on Tom Jobim's classic "Waters of March," "Miles Away" and "A Gift" from her latest release. Bottom line is that it was a great, great show. To my untrained ear, she has not lost a note in a voice with exceptional range, power and control. This was really driven home to me as I watched some of the "Electric Proms" from the BBC on TV the other day. It was one show of The Who and another of Sir Paul Mac. Roger Daltrey's voice, God bless him for what he sang for so long, is just devastated, as has been noted on PoW in the past. As much as I'd like to see and hear the Remains of The Who, he should retire his pies. And McCartney's voice, while not as ravaged as Roger's is no longer the sweet sound it was in the past. He really should retire from the stage as well. Sorry guys. Don't lead us into regret.
I apologize for the digression but it is by way of illustration that Basia's voice is everything it ever was. Maybe it's a function of her singing smooth jazz but she sings it with such power that I venture to say that it's more a measure of her using her voice well. And her hiatus from performing. OK. That does make a difference. But still, she must be given credit for getting on stage and delivering everything she gave her songs since first she sang them.
She is also so absolutely gorgeous that I told her I thought there might be some album art in her attic that's aging because she surely wasn't. "Ah Dorian Gray" she said and hugged me! It was not gratuitous. I fully meant it. If you look at the cover art for "It's That Girl Again," you'll see what I mean. And what a magic cataract of beautiful brunette tresses! As sweeping and glossy as a raven's wing. Yeah, getting a hug from her was an unexpected blessing. I also mentioned how much I enjoyed hearing "Miles Away" which seemed to make her happy as well. Not an often requested song perhaps.
How did I manage meeting her? Well, at The Birchmere, artists often will meet and greet after the show but it's never to be expected and Basia didn't do so. However I was lucky enough to have parked by the stage door (by the chance of it being as close as I could get for arriving late) and thus was able to hang around despite the cold and spitting rain to get my CD jewel box inserts signed. (extended happy dance) I really dig having autographed media. And thus, my friends, I was able this wonderful lady to my "seen live" list.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I was going to head up to Delaware for the day but this morning my lower back talked me into taking it easy. It was a good thing and, I'm wondering, perhaps a bit of an omen. After I ate a late breakfast my GI tract has gone on the offensive against me. I need to hook a firehose to one end of me and right now I'm not decided which end would be best. I'm going to try to make myself a pot of rice and see if it might provide some grain-y bulk to either settle me down or flush the system.
Either way, this sucks. It's not as bad as the flu but it has definite flu-ish aspects.

Sorry for the lack of posting but I've been dealing with this GI ugliness on and off fer the last few days. It's the Michael Corleone of sickness: Every time I think I'm out, it drags me back in. Dang. Luckily I have some DVDs, plenty to read. I have to be well enough to see Basia tomorrow night.

Friday, October 29, 2010

An oldie but a goodie brought up to date. The Kinks are much unappreciated in this country (USA).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shake Out The Cobwebs
I have tried to maintain a commitment to live music but I've not been very diligent about it. But every now and then, a necessity arises and this week, it was buying a ticket to see the wonderful jazz singer Basia who's coming to The Birchmere in early November. Inasmuch as I have all of her recorded music, absent her collaboration in Matt Bianco, I felt I had to see her live at long last.

I have to tip the lid to my old college buddy Michael for connecting me to her music. Very samba, bossa nova influenced jazz. I believe I have gone on about this lovely lady at length in the past. So I'll just embed a viddy to close this post out.