RIP Mary Ann.

Dawn Wells, Mary Ann from “Gilligan’s Island” has passed at age 82. She died of complications from COVID-19.

Erma and Irma.

During my lifetime I’ve known two women named Erma. Actually, one was named Erma and one was named Irma. The latter I knew in person; the former I knew by way of newspapers and books.

Now, I’m going to clue you in on something. I’m not a housewife and I have never been a housewife. But even as a youngish lad I enjoyed reading my grandmother’s books by Erma Bombeck. I knew nothing about puberty and sexually reproductive practices, so I had no idea what Erma Bombeck was writing about when she lost everything in The Post Natal Depression, but her style was humorous and friendly, and after seeing her segments on “Good Morning, America” (usually when I was home from school with the flu or something), it was easy to read her passages in her midwestern accented voice. Erma Bombeck wrote in a “wry” way but she always made me laugh, even if I didn’t know what I was laughing about. I had no relationship with cottage cheese, I knew very little about cleaning alabasters (I think it had something to do with a bird cage), but I did dream about travel and I could identify with the idea of Mom and Dad arguing in the front seat of the 1978 Chevy Impala.

Now the other Irma I knew in person. She lived on a farm that wasn’t too far from us. My dad’s cousin’s divorced wife and kids would hang out with my mom and their kids (prior to the divorce) were aged right around my sister and me, and we’d spend plenty of summer days together. Irma and her husband Sam owned a dairy farm and we’d go over there to visit. The drive was fun in that it was across hay and cornfields on a backroad called the Sheepskin Road. Irma drove a Chevy Malibu with bucket seats (I considered this quite fancy) and the downstairs bathroom had an early 1970s era front loading Westinghouse Washing Machine. Irma was always very nice, very grandmotherly, and like Erma Bombeck, Irma was always positive and would go out of her way to take care of the people around her. Once in a great while I’ll dream about Irma and I have no idea why. Maybe it’s just a friendly way of waking up with a smile on my face.

I spent some downtime reading old columns by Erma Bombeck today. I still don’t know how to clean an alabaster (who knew a bird would get dirty?) and I don’t know anything about having a kid standing stark naked on top of the television set while I’m writing my latest blog entry, but like Irma, Erma makes me smile.

I hope the two of them have had the opportunity to share pleasantries on the other side.

Stargazing.

Clear Night on Smith Lake by Nathaniel Polta on 500px

I spent some time daydreaming about what we are going to do when we’re able to travel about this country again. I told my husband I want to drive far away from any city lights on a moonless, clear summer night and just gaze at the stars. I want my vision to be filled with the beauty of space. There’s a whole huge universe out there and I want to see its awesomeness, unimpeded by city lights. I want to watch comets dance and see satellites streak by. I want to lose myself in thoughts of who is sitting on another planet, many light years away, wondering what’s going on near that pale, little yellow dot in their night sky. I want to feel hope.

I want to lose myself in the stars.

Idling.

In these unprecedented times my head is going in many directions at once. When the world gets noisy, I have a couple of ways to get things back in order: I fly an airplane, I go for a long drive, I lose myself in technological endeavors.

I can’t fly an airplane right now, we’re not suppose to be going for long drives, and I’m probably spending too much time losing myself in technological endeavors.

What to do?

Truman has the right idea: throw yourself down on the floor and look out the window to watch the clouds go by. I’m going to try doing that a bit more today. I tried a couple of days ago for a few moments and I immediately noticed the lack of city sounds and the lack of air traffic in and out of O’Hare and Midway. The trick to watching the clouds go by is to quiet the mind. I’ve never been one to really meditate because when everyone else in the room is concentrating on their breath all I hear is my tinnitus.

But watching clouds go by? That might work.

Attempt.

I’m sitting on our balcony enjoying a glass of wine and recovering from watching much of the latest Democratic debate. This time it was hosted by ABC and then packed 3500 people into an arena to cheer and yell and get that whole “make it a sport” vibe going. If you liked candidate one the best, call 1-866-HELPUS1 from your Cingular Wireless phone. Winners to be announced next week after a concert by Dave Matthews with Hootie and the Blowfish.

I’m typing a blog entry using the virtual keyboard on my iPad Pro. Apple was quick to show off a miniature keyboard on the iPad Pro during their event on Monday, but even with iPadOS on this device I can’t figure out what gesture shrinks the keyboard. I’m still mixing up undo and redo as well and I haven’t mastered “cut and paste” with the grab and drop gesture. Perhaps I need to be facing east or something.

There are thunderstorms moving into area and even though it’s mid September it feels as stifling hot as a hot summer night in July. This weekends suppose to calm down a little bit unless someone grabs a Sharpie and changes the weather.

I’ve been pondering spirituality a little bit over past couple of days, and how spiritual beliefs can enhance one’s life instead of dictating it. I haven’t quite figured this out in my head, but I’m being a geek about it and trying to marry my love of science and reason with a spirituality around energy and love. I do not think these concepts run in opposition of one another and I do believe certain spiritual beliefs can be intertwined into one’s life intelligently. Perhaps I was moved by last night’s viewing of the fan film from the Star Trek Universe called “The Holy Core’. I also had an amazing conversation with a monk a couple weeks ago, perhaps the effects from that are still weighing on my mind.

Perspective.

Please watch this video in full screen with the audio turned on. Best enjoyed on something bigger than a smartphone screen.

H/T to Lew on my Twitter feed for bringing my attention to this.

RIP Penny Marshall.

Penny Marshall passed away last night. She was 75 years old and had been struggling with diabetes. Most famous for her role as “Laverne” and ABC’s “Laverne and Shirley”, Penny was also well-known as a movie director for famous films like “A League of Their Own” and “Big”. I always loved how she moved to a version 2.0 of her entertainment career with her roles behind the camera.

About a month ago I watched several interviews with Penny on YouTube. She’s was a little eccentric, wicked smart, and a creative person through and through. Her talent will be missed.

Universe.

The Universe leads us to where we need to be. We moved to Chicago, which meant we needed to find a new primary physician. Getting acquainted with our new primary physician involved an annual physical and associated tests. He urged us to get the tests that middle aged men should get; for my husband this involved a colonoscopy. It was his first. During the colonoscopy the doctor discovered some roughness to his prostate and he was urged to get that checked. He had his prostate checked on at 5:04 PM on 5/4, he received news that he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. The blood tests had spiked and come back down, but the biopsy was the tell-tale sign. Because my husband is relatively young in prostate years (don’t tell him that, it’ll go to his head), the best course of treatment was surgery. For older guys they go with radiation, but for younger guys, they go with surgery because if the cancer is contained to the prostate, the cancer is completely removed. If radiation fails, they can’t do surgery, but if surgery doesn’t get it all, they can do radiation. My husband made the decision to go through with the surgery and as I type this he’s in the operating room. The procedure can take 3 to 4 1/2 hours. I will be able to see him again this afternoon.

If we hadn’t moved to Chicago, resulting in finding a new doctor, we probably would have been lazy about our annual physicals and who knows how long he would have had this cancer without detection. His cancer was caught early, very early, in fact. There is over a 97% chance that he will be 100% cancer free when all is said and done.

He likes numbers. We both like numbers. We especially like these numbers.

For the 22 years that we’ve been together I’ve always been the one that is going into surgery with his support. For the first time in our relationship the roles in this regard are reversed. It’s been amusing but we’ve settled in.

I’m putting my trust in the Universe today.

Life Goal.

When my time in this life on this planet comes to an end, I want to be able to say to whoever greets me on the other side, “I’ve done everything I can to make the world better. I’ve used every ounce of talent. I ran with every opportunity. I mustered up the energy to keep going and I always tried to set an example. I used up everything that was given to me and I’m ready to rest a bit before doing it again, better than before.”