Friday, May 8, 2015

Personal Column from Carol Irvin ~ At Long Last

I am finally back on track with knee recovery so am able to write a personal column. This will be an assorted grab bag of items and hopefully there will be something in it for everyone. A week ago we were able to go up for two nights to Geneva on the Lake again. We stay in the state lodge overlooking Lake Erie. The above is what fronts the lodge. We took a walk along that path and rested on one of the benches.

Newer buildings like the lodge understood erosion with the lake swelling and taking some shoreline. Those earlier places built right along the lake are fast becoming history. Turns out on some stretches of road you now have a lakeside view if you bought across the road from the lake and not on the lake itself. Those houses on the lake were torn down and the state went to work on building up the shoreline. Geneva is quite old. There is still a small honky tonk element there during the summer which some people still love and use. Not us though.

We have a favorite place to eat that is one of these places that is right across the road. It is called Alessandro's and the chef-owner came from Italy. Felix and I shared this dessert which was out of this world. It is peanut butter gelato in a chocolate shell. He was claiming he was stuffed with his trout until I said I wanted to order this but I would be willing to share. Announcing to Felix that you are going to share a dessert mandates that there is an exact 50-50 distribution, no matter how "stuffed" he may claim to be.

I had a nice session in the indoor pool at the lodge. It is in a beautiful glassed in building overlooking the Lake Erie. I could see a freighter far out on the horizon line and remembered seeing so many of those as a kid.

Felix says I look like a spastic porpoise when doing all my crazy movements for the benefit of the knee.

Realistically, this is the future of "travel" for me. I just have way too many medical problems to be wandering far afield.

Then we returned home. One thing that has kept me sane has been to continue to work on these free posters to accompany my teaching products over at the TPT website. I really enjoy making those. I just did one for Rebecca as well for one of her vegan cooking class talks. She will use her poster in a powerpoint show instead of printing it though. I just added my high resolution newest poster, my Terror education presentation. The below is the low resolution version.

If you look in the lower right corner of the poster, there is the Garland Texas terror event. A Garland police traffic cop was able to shoot and kill those two terrorists. Considering they had assault rifles and body armor and the traffic cop had a service revolver, he or she must be one heck of a shot. But that is not unusual in Texas. Most people there are rather good with guns. Actually, Texas is not the number one place I would want to visit and pull out a gun. I would expect that a lot of people there might return fire, not just the police.

In my Terror teaching presentation, this is the only terror event which can in any way be counted a "win" for the non-terrorists. I promptly added it to that presentation, right under the Charlie Hebdo event in Paris in January.

I do not imagine that Paris, France and Dallas, Texas have a whole lot in common, including the amount of time spent on the firing range and attending gun club events. The traffic cop probably started target shooting as a child. Perhaps Charlie Hebdo should consider a Dallas branch if it wishes to continue cartooning while also joining the conceal and carry movement along with the NRA, which are warmly embraced in Texas. If I wanted to pursue a career as an Islamic cartoonist, that is what I would do.

I don't know if having an Islam cartoon contest is the best idea but we are a First Amendment country. Americans are tired of people thinking they have the right to stop our freedom of speech and expression. Right from the beginning it was known that in passing the Amendment that a lot of this speech would be offensive to one person or another but they would all have to suck it up to overall enjoy this very rare liberty.

I've also been doing other art work. I made another one of those fiber art garments. This time I used rayon challis, which I find very comfortable. I've had to use my other leg for the sewing machine pedal but I discovered that being ambidextrous with my feet is much easier than with my hands. Now I'm tearing apart other garments and putting them back together in my own eccentric ways. I also bought some interesting buttons online and have been replacing some of the uglier ones on my clothing with these. That is a nice mindless task to do while watching a video on my iPad or Mac Air. I especially like the new polymer clay buttons as well as glass and resin ones.

Rebecca and I are going back to the rec center to use the exercise machines again. I told her I would look up online the machines which were safe for knee replacement patients and/or knees in general. There are only four of them considered safe and then only if you use them moderately and reasonably. I have talked to quite a few of you who either have had this surgery or are next in line so hold onto this info.

 These are 1) the treadmill 2) wall pulleys 3) elliptical recumbent bike 4) leg extension machine. No other machine which uses your legs is safe for your knees, if you have newfound respect for your knees as I do. Machines which only use your upper body are not addressed here.

No week would be complete without a Kim Kardashian photo. The one this week is at the Met Gala. If you like costumes as I do, then you should not miss looking at the pictures. There are people with beautiful ones: Amal Clooney and Jessica Chastain look great. There are some other lovely ones but most are a hoot. Go here to see them.

I was able to make my longtime friend Donna's birthday party. Her condo looks like a work of art because she has done such a fabulous job on the interior. As we drove up, I remembered that I had met Donna just shortly before my 30th birthday party. She came to that party and we all disco danced. We had hired a disco instructor for the evening and we did it on the back patio. This was in 1978. So all these years later, I entered Donna's party not in my disco dancing shoes but with my walking stick in one hand and Felix on the other side of me. I'm not far behind Donna. I will be 67 in August. We all had a good time and it was a beautiful day so we got long convertible rides both to and from the party. I love the open air on a drive.

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