Monday, November 14, 2016


A week ago, I got one of those telephone calls that one doesn't like to get. Specifically, it was a call from my OB/GYN's office saying that my most recent mammogram was inconclusive and they needed to do another one. They had already scheduled an appointment for me, on the morning of my birthday. What a lovely way to mark the end of one's forty-second year. My insurance won't pay for this one – they said that they would pay for the first one, but the second is mine to afford. Of course, one does not just opt to forego tests like these, even though odds are decidedly that the first was merely misread, not a real problem. If there's an issue, I would rather catch it sooner than later.

Two weeks on, and I still haven't gotten back my apostilled background check from the State Department. Argh.  It's the Ides of November tomorrow, and I still need to send all the paperwork off to South Korea to see if it gets stuck in their bureaucracy, and for how long. I did email the school director  to let him know what was going on.

I ended up eating consecrated bread last night after communion. Historically, they just toss the loaf that the pastor breaks up at the table, but one of the elders decided this was wasteful and insisted that my friend and I take it home. I don't think it had any salt in it. I actually did a lot of soul-searching before I decided to go ahead and chow down – you have that example of the fellow in the Old Testament who reached out a hand to steady the Ark of the Covenant when the oxen pulling the cart it was on stumbled, and was struck dead on the spot for his irreverent practicality, and then on the other hand you have the Reformed understanding that the bread isn't transsubstantiated. Still, it's consecrated--but the elder pointed out that given that I'd already taken communion, I had already eaten some of it. And I considered that it was given to me by an elder, I hadn't spontaneously decided to take it; I figured if anything it would be good for me.

I also was anointed with a small vial of oil after the service, as I asked another trio of elders to pray that my neck and arm would be healed. I have had good days and I have had bad days, but the pain during the latter has left me absolutely miserable and unable to work effectively. Physical Therapy has not yielded any miracles. It's such a blessing to be pain-free.

I have a cold. I've been swilling hot tea all day, and eating large quantities of carbs. I'm not sure that carbs are a standard form of cold treatment, but Trixie gets quite distressed when I eat chicken, because she's not allowed to have any. I wish I could spend the next three days in bed, but I have work to do. Outside, there's a haze of smoke from the not-too-distant wildfires. Today I spent shivering in a sweater and swaddled in a scarf, researching Karl Marx. Of his three legitimate children who survived childhood (out of seven born) one died of cancer before the age of 40, and the other two committed suicide. Good grief. Later this week, I get to tackle Edith Wharton. I could really use some lighthearted humor after all of this real and imagined misery. I think I will sit in a sunbeam during tomorrow's 90-minute conference call.

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