Sunday, August 30, 2009

My connection to Ted Kennedy, and other thoughts

Many people are talking about their connection to Ted Kennedy.

Here's mine. Well, it's not exactly mine. It's my mother's, but it has become part of the family lore and therefore feels like my connection.

I was at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston in 2003, during my first round of treatment for leukemia. It was early fall, around the time of my stem cell transplant (Sept. 18).

My mother came up to my room, all smiles. "I just bumped into Ted Kennedy!" she said. He had apparently been visiting someone at the hospital and was going out as she was coming in. She stopped him in the lobby. My mother asked if she could shake his hand, and he said, of course, yes.

The Democrats were in disarray, doing a lot of soul-searching after their losses in the 2002 midterm elections.

Mom said to the Senator: "I love you very much. But can't you tell those Democrats to get their act together?"

Kennedy chuckled.

"I'm trying, I'm trying," he said.

I got a chuckle out of it too.

Meanwhile, here are some observations based on things that happened to me in the past few days:

Ways not to unpack a bag after vacation: Pull clothing out of overstuffed bag one piece at a time. Move bag from one side of the room to the other so as not to trip on it. Take remaining clothing out of bag and put it on the floor, hoping that it will fly into your dresser drawers when you are sleeping. Realize that actually putting everything away is less painful and probably quicker than what you're doing. Procrastinate a little more.

How not to fill out forms and gather documents: Put it off until late in the day. Start printing papers and answering questions when you are bleary-eyed. Print two copies of one thing and none of another. Attempt a remedy, then get confused about which pile is which. Accidently delete something and reach for hard copy. Search for hard copy for more than an hour. In an instant, realize that it is two chairs down from you, in pile #2 rather than pile #1, which is in chair next to you.

How to quickly subvert a resolution: Start the day by vowing to cut down on sugar. Immediately add brown sugar to your oatmeal and follow with coffee cake.

How to get rich quick: Realize your wallet has $1 in it when you are just back from a vacation in which the twenties seem to have flown out the window. Son having left for college earlier that morning, check the top of his dresser for change. Find it scattered there. (Never look in drawers, only surfaces.) Pick out bunch of quarters and remember to return for small change. Go into bedroom sporadically occupied by older son. Jackpot! Help self to quarters strewn on dresser. Remember to return for small change if the going gets tough.

How to lose track of your limitations: Having lost the taste for coffee and then happily regained it, go about regular routine of taking coffee cup around with you all morning. Feeling like a big shot, go up stairs carrying laptop in one hand and coffee cup in the other. Lose balance and start to fall backwards. Make correction leaning forwards, stumble and almost splash coffee on stairs. Luckily, make it upstairs without big spill, vowing not to try that again for a while.

How to eat dinner alone and at a crazy hour: Do who-knows-what all day and go to store around 6 p.m. for missing ingredients needed to make lasagna that you vowed to make last night but never did. Start cooking around 7. Figure daughter will have to wait for dinner after returning from concert, but figure it's better than nothing. Stand there when daughter comes home with friend and says she's just grabbing some stuff and heading to another friend's house for a sleep-over. Look shocked, then realize she already told you she might do this. Eat while reading a book, at table still strewn with papers from above-mentioned project, around 9:30.

Realize that, after a period when you had to force food down, you are thankful you have an appetite for the lasagna, it turned out well, and there are leftovers to share with daughter tomorrow.


pam said...

Runni, the rules are spot-on! i have tried, resolution for Sept. 1st already subverted this morning -- , to do a first-direct-step for tasks-- i.e. put the garbage in the bin, not on the counter, hang up clothes instead of dumping them in pile, put things directly from bag to fridge instead of on counter,

the idea is so simple, we could write a book, but then i would actually have to sit down and do it!
and the list goes on!

PJ said...

Great advice all around. I'm still searching for my appetite.

susiegb said...

Ted Kennedy story was interesting ... I thought of you being in Cape Cod when his body was taken from there to Boston and the funeral.

I don't have any Ted Kennedy connections! But - I have to admit I can remember what I was doing when JFK was shot. I was in boarding school and someone had been (illegally) listening to a transistor radio under the bedclothes! Our boarding house was down the road from the main school and we used to run up the road for breakfast (having not got up until the very last minute) putting on last bits of clothes as we ran. And she gasped it to me as we ran up ... !

Meryl said...


This post is hysterical. I particularly related to looking for scattered change on dresser tops, because for sure, no person under 50 in our house ever puts change in the jar officially designated for change. (Sometimes I even find dollar bills.) I have to thank my husband for teaching me to unpack my suitcase right after you return home from vacation- otherwise, clothes can remain in the suitcase until the next season comes around. Glad your sense of humor is fully intact.

Nelle said...

You made me LOL while reading this. Sounds like what I do many days! I sort things only to find that even though I have pre sorted them, they are not where I expected them to be. Real problem when they are things like insurance papers that need a follow up! Can't tell you the search I went on finding my mammo referral which I had here for months! Discovered other missing things while looking for that. Have been searching everywhere for a missing credit card which still has not surfaced. Wondering if it got shredded while doing paperwork some sleepless night. Today I was all ready for work, wearing red silk top just out of the cleaners. Ran downstairs and decided I had time for one last cup of coffee. Spun around holding cup of coffee with just splenda in it when to avert tripping over dog and cat I barely kept myself from tumbling and spilled coffee all over the freshly cleaned countertop! Of course I had to get a few drops on the top before ever getting out the door! I try not to sweat this small stuff. I also find coins left around by my son (visits but still leaves a trail of coins) and husband. Hubby has a jar that is our emergency stash. I think I would have really liked your Mom. :)

Korby said...

A belated Regular Happy Birthday to you!
I just got caught up with your blog.
You are funny, girl! Keep up the good sense of humor. Looking forward to seeing you this weekend. Korby