Saturday, June 27, 2015

How we get around

One of the subjects I've become interested in since my retirement is urban transportation. I have a list of blogs and web sites I check frequently for local and national and even international news and insights. I subscribe to Mode>Shift>Omaha's email notices, I've bookmarked several bicycling web sites (I have a bike now! It's not ride-able yet but once I've got the health stuff behind me I'm hoping to get back in the saddle!) I've said here often that I need to walk more, and take more advantage of our bus system.

Here are some web sites I've found interesting, entertaining and helpful:

Poynton Regenerated - Rumor has it that the construction chaos out at 90th & Maple Streets is going to be revealed, when the dust settles, as a giant roundabout. Single-lane roundabouts are no longer strange sights in Omaha, but somehow the idea of scaling that up to two lanes scares the hell out of people. Big cities the world over have long had roundabouts - usually scapegoated humorously by Americans such as the hapless tourist taking his life in his hands to get across the Place Vendôme. But if they can do it, we can do it. This 15 minute film is fascinating, showing pre-project doubts and conditions, and post-project opinions and benefits. They used a number of known approaches to increasing safety for pedestrians and keeping traffic moving. There is a whole *world* of ways to make our lives better through the design of transportation projects. This is a good video to get your toes wet.

Mode>Shift>Omaha - for citizens to keep up on local transportation issues.

Mode>Shift>Omaha onTwitter (pro tip: you don't have to "belong" on Twitter to read other people's Tweets; you just can't respond to them if you haven't registered. I haven't. I lurk. If I feel the overwhelming urge to comment, I'll send the Tweeter a private email. Doesn't happen often.)

Human Transit - pro planner Jarrett Walker's excellent blog about issues in transporting human beings through their cities and lives.

I love the web site Streetfilms. You get to see videos from cities all over the world about dealing with human transportation issues in humane and intelligent ways. It's inspiring!

Charles Marhon's video dissecting an engineer's video of a "diverging diamond" intersection is an entertaining 10 minutes that will get you started actually *seeing* the kind of insane transportation environment we've all become accustomed to. Marhon's blog Strong Towns is full of insightful discussions, videos and interviews about how people are trying everywhere to make towns and cities about human beings again. He pulls no punches when critiquing his profession's blind spots about designing for people.

There's a lot going on locally in this arena. If you've ever wondered what the heck is going on in Benson - cruise through Omaha By Design's website to find out.

Last October I tried a month-long experiment to see if I could live without a car in Omaha. I didn't make it the full month; read about what I learned, starting with this post.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Getting into a summery frame of mind

I dunno, just had a sudden yen for lemonade and a good book...and a cool place to settle in and laze...I also have my Number 1 Chief Assistant, O'Keefe who's glued herself to my lap. And it's warm and sunny outside giving just right amount of appreciation for the cool indoors...

That was taken on a summer morning.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The red flag.

That's it. You may have to look very very closely before you see it.
A tiny dot.
A tiny RED dot.

This is not a subject I would choose to address in a blog post. But it might be important to someone else so here it is:

If you are a woman who's past menopause for a few years, and you see that tiny red dot in your panties, and if there is no known reason for it - see your doctor. NOW. Put everything else aside, because nothing is as important as getting to your doctor. 

Post-menopausal female plumbing should not bleed. Not at all. Not even such a tiny amount as that itty bitty red dot like the one above. That tiny red dot is your body doing the best it can to wave a gigantic red flag in your face: get help now.

I did, last week, and Thursday I heard those words you never expect to hear: "It's cancer."

So everything else gets set aside and I go to a succession of medical pros, and at this point we know it's Stage Grade 1 endometrial adenosarcoma. ["Grade" and "Stage" are two different things, describing different things. Grade I means it's the least aggressive form, it takes the longest to spread. Until the post-surgical analysis, we won't know what "Stage" it is - this is the familiar "Stage I, II, III, and IV" which tells us how far it has or has not spread]*.  I'm going to get a CAT scan in 3 days that will tell the surgeon more. We know I'm going in for a complete hysterectomy July 13th, and after that they will be able to tell whether it has spread, whether I'll need chemo and/or radiation, exactly what that nasty bugger is doing/has done. 

I was scared until I could see the oncologist yesterday, who would relate to me everything they know so far. I'd have moments of existential dread and despair, alternating with long periods of not thinking about it, going about my usual daily business. 

But the dread is gone now; I know what it is. I know what we're going to do about it. I don't know what will come after that, but I will, as time passes. I have a lot of hope that catching it "so early" (as every one of the medical people I've been to see said) means they can get it all with surgery. I have a lot of hope that even if that's not so, it hasn't gone so far that we can't still kill it with medical science. I even have a lot of hope that if it eventually kills me, I will still be able to remember what an incredibly lucky life I have enjoyed, and what dear, loving and loyal family and friends I have. 

But if you see a tiny red dot, and you know it shouldn't be there - see your doctor NOW.

This isn't going to become a Cancer Blog. I might mention it now and again but I hope to have other more interesting and fun things to post.

My kids gave me a tee shirt before I got the diagnosis. It says, under the atomic symbol:

"Keep Calm and Trust Science."

That's my motto these days.

*I edited this Monday, June 22nd to make it more accurate.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sometimes you just need to take a break

If your heart is a little heavy maybe this guy catching water in his hands for his goldfinch to take a bath in will ease the soreness a little.

Monday, June 15, 2015


Not much has been happening worth blogging about, but stuff has been happening. Haven't decided yet whether to blog about it all. The basic life stuff marches on: trying to keep up with the yard work, carry out my over-optimistic plans (if they're not over-optimistic, what's the point?) for various plantings and features. Also keeping up with just ordinary chores. Family's coming for a visit this week which is exciting and very, very welcome.

But running always behind and beyond any life stuff, good or bad, fun or work or ordinary or exciting, is a kind of ... hum. It's a baseline in the back of my head from ghods know where, childhood or whatever. My lifelong constant background of feeling inadequate, incompetent, not good enough, not smart enough, not Enough enough. And it's exhausting because on top of the energy required to keep the house and the yard and my own interests and friendships and family-ships going there's this 10 Ton weight of Inadequacy I have to haul up the hill, every time.  I don't know what I'm doing, I've NEVER known what the hell I was doing, and I never will and if I don't make a complete lethal disaster out of it (whatever It is) it certainly won't be my doing.

I think maybe I should save up for a week at a spa where you don't have to do anything at all for yourself. Somebody else cooks and serves the food and somebody else does the laundry and there are no decisions and no responsibilities and you don't have to think about anything at all for a week. Sounds good to me.