Sep 16, 2010

Weight, weight, don't tell me.

My state of denial defines my greed as refined epicureanism ! The truth occasionally finds it's way out of my subconscious when I struggle into clothes or feel enervated under the weight of too much food or drink, but I manage to shove it back in by bedtime. Of late, truth has been fighting back and forcing my brain to to ruminate on Ben Franklin's value of Temperance. My state of denial calls this Old Age !

So I ruminate: Franklin said - "Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation". Let's start with the latter. This is, at times, very necessary. However, those times are becoming fewer and further between with life's growing responsibilities and worries, though of course that presents exactly the sort of situation from which drinking is a refuge. Hmm, this is a tough one. Ruminate further...

The former actually makes sense, food coma is never desirable but it creeps upon you as you convince yourself that you are "just tasting" everything on the table or while thinking about starving children, you decide not to waste any food and stuff your face with the last three kebobs. However, moderation is possible, I think. What I shall do is convince my mind of the same by weighing myself every morning (when possible) and record it on a white board in my study. In short, allow my subconscious to plant a seed to trick my mind to accept reality. That's food for thought as I continue thinking about food.

Sep 3, 2010


Let me bring you songs from the wood…..”

It was a gut reaction. In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell explains that snap decisions are a result of a series of “thin-slicing” performed by our adaptive unconsciousness and that attempts to explain or decipher them are mostly doomed. Thus, all I have to say is that I suddenly decided to not leave my then 20-week pregnant wife alone for the weekend and told my friends that I would bail out of our re-union plans set in New Jersey.
My friends (bless their hearts) shuffled the logistics and moved the party up to Boston. I did leave my wife alone at home for the weekend, but remained within a half -hour drive. On Sunday afternoon, peering through heavy eyes, I bid my friends adieu and headed home. I was going to pick up my wife and then head out to watch a Jethro Tull concert at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston. She had always wanted to see them after hearing my passionate tales about their entertaining shows (with very good music, to boot). Right before we headed out, she complained of “feeling not exactly right”. We decided to swing by the hospital on our way to the concert to have the nurse on duty check it out and give us the all-clear.
Things did not go as expected. Two seats in the second row stayed empty at the Pavilion that night. After an initial check-up, they decided to keep my wife at the hospital overnight for observations since they feared imminent danger of a very early pre-term birth. Although they downplayed it saying that they could keep issues at bay and resolve everything with a quick procedure the next day, things got progressively worse. Ultimately, our hospital said that they were not equipped to handle a 20 week baby and had us transferred to Tufts Medical Center which houses one of the premier NICUs in the world. Thus began a three month ordeal.
For a while, my wife was kept at bed rest continuously in the trendelenburg position. If you are wondering what that is (and I would be surprised if you were not), I suggest you google it. All I can say is that I wish it on no one. After a week or so, they finally discontinued that and moved her to a normal supine position. It was still a long, long time before they allowed her to leave the bed and be wheeled out of her room for anything other than a medical procedure. Six weeks later, they allowed her to go home (and be on bed-rest there) and it was not until the 30th week of her pregnancy did they clear her to walk again.

Let me bring you love from the fields

Poppies red and roses filled with summer rain

To heal the wound, to still the pain

That threatens again and again….”

At Tuft’s, I recall some awful Wednesdays. It might have been the day that signaled the start of a new week in the pregnancy cycle. A medical specialist, in particular I remember an Indian neo-natal surgeon, would walk us through the various nightmare scenarios that could happen if our child was born that week. The descriptions were cold, clinical, and usually very graphic. We were then given a few hours to decide and then inform the hospital of this "pre-decision". These usually involved whether (and at what point in the post-birth crisis management process) we would allow them to pull the plug since emotions would render decision-making impossible in the heat of the moment. I think this "Sophie's choice" scenario carried on till my wife was a point in her pregnancy where our child was out of the worst risk category, about 4 weeks after she was first admitted.
They say such things are life changing. You hear about people passing through crisis and how they react to it by opening their minds and hearts, diving into charity work, immersing in philanthropy – they hear the tree falling in the forest without being there. Alternately, some become reality TV stars. All I felt was irritability, impatience and bitterness. Four years have passed and I have held on to those feelings strongly. I badly want to slip that skin off like a snake, but have instead ended up like a snake that hisses and spits at the slightest non-provocation. Maybe one day.....
Anyway, back to everything Absolutely Jethro. On June 15, 2010, we were at what I consider a full circle of some sort. My wife and I took our healthy 3 -year old to see Ian Anderson and his cohorts at the same Bank of America Pavilion. Although lacking the usual antics of a Tull soiree, it was one of the finest Tull concerts I have seen, musically speaking. The set list was mostly the old folk-themed songs which they wove into long musical extravaganzas. My son ran around the big open Pavilion, had dinner and fidgeted through  the opening act of Procol Harum. When the sun went down and Mr. Anderson came out and started with “Nothing is Easy”, my son lay on my lap and watched the music through tired but transfixed eyes. Somewhere between “Pastime” and “Jack in the Green”, he slipped quietly into sleep, maybe when Ian sang “the mistlethrush is coming Jack, put out the light !!”. After we finished listening to “My God”, the first time I heard Tull play it live, we slowly left the concert pavilion to the strains of “Budapest” on stage behind us.

“Life's long celebration's here.

I'll toast you all in penny cheer.”

 A couple of links: