Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Pink Hat

 Its 5:38 PM

      Sitting in the den...the day has been weird weather wise to say the least. Woke up to heavy snowfall and a sleepy orange and white cat curled in a tight ball. As I started getting my day in order,my friend Deb (aka Rhoda) called. As we talked the snow switched over to a light rain. Up to then,I hadn't heard anyone up and about with a snowblower.  But I then I heard one buzzing pretty close,I thought it was my neighbor Justin clearing his sidewalk but it was my other neighbor,Larry and he cleared half of mine.
  Taking that as a cue,I suited up and went to clear the driveway. We were supposed to get 2-3 inches of fresh snow...on top of the 31.1 inches we got in January, instead we got about 4 inches and it was the heavy snow that is a real bear to shovel. It had to be done so I got to it and about 45 minutes the job was done.
  So some of you may have seen the first pictures of my idea to honor and remember Lori. Before I start the story,please the blog entry about The Pink Hat's origin.

 When a loved one dies of a illness like cancer,there are so many things on your plate as a family member,spouse,friend,caretaker or all of the above. I touched upon seeing a video that I filmed of Lori a couple of entries back...I need to revisit the topic for a bit,I hope you won't mind.
  One of the issues that arises when you are losing a loved one is creating a lasting memory. There are many ways to do so,donate time in volunteering,massive amounts of cash to a favorite college or charity,creating a foundation in the person's name. Lot of ideas....but many that come after the fact. Because creating that memory is the last thing you think of when they are still alive. You are in the moment as far as being with them all the way to the end. Now some folks do in fact write journals or leave video journals but the vast,vast majority do not. In our case,we only focused on LIVING because we didn't want to lose a moment of time. This means I only have one video of Lori alive and talk during our last month as well as the one video that was shot during her last week with me.
  I bring this up because a friend is watching one of her friends die of colon cancer and she wants to have a lasting memory. She asked about videotaping and I shared our story. That it never occurred to me to just set up the camera and just talk. Asking a dying person to go on camera and leave a memory is not so easy. Its basically telling the person "You're dead but I want this for myself". It robs the person of peace of mind and in many cases,hope. So may have resigned themselves to their fate and are able to face a camera. I can tell you that Lori and I were not. Sitting here,holding on to her memory,I know now I wish I had more video footage but not at the cost of her peace of mind.
  Since I don't have a lot of videos of Lori and our lives together,I got inspired by a husband whose wife is also very ill with cancer. He went to various places and took pictures of himself wearing a pink tutu. He shared them with his wife and it brought her joy and laughter.
Now while I can't do that for Lori now...but with me taking my Pink Hat,I can show YOU some of the places we went to and the people that meant a lot to us. So this is the genesis behind the Pink Hat. A little goofy? Maybe. But from my heart? Positively!
  And with first adventure with the Pink Hat came with my going to give blood at the American Red Cross. Its been a while since I have been able to donate but deep in the middle of winter when so many folks could use blood? Count me I took my first picture of the Pink Hat and drove to the donation place.

Got checked in and went through the process of getting ready. I snapped this picture while waiting for a table to become open.
  Soon it was my turn and as I climbed onto the table,the nurse asked about the hat. I told her what I was doing and the reason behind it. I asked her if she wouldn't mind taking a picture or two and she was very happy to do it.

My eyes are closed because I was trying to squeeze the roller and trying to ignore the pain in the needle injection area on my arm. This donation stung a bit! Pretty soon I was done and so as I was being unhooked,I thanked the nurse and went to the cookies and juice table for the 15 minute recovery time.
  And that concluded my first activity on my Pink Hat Tour.

Took another big step yesterday as well. I went out to my first real social event since forever. Got invited to my friend Dom's house to watch a replay of the Royal Rumble. A group of guys all chip in snacks,drinks,plates,etc to table while watching the event. I have had a standing invite but other then going to the show three times,have avoided any real social activity.
  I think its still due to the tenderness of what has happened. I still get people asking about what happened and how am I coping. If being broke as hell is a sign of improving,then I guess I can say I'm doing well enough to venture out again.
   Had a fun time....the group and very friendly. Dom has a very sweet but chunky pug who acted more like a cat then dog. He took turns sleeping on everyone and he snores pretty loudly.
  We plan of reuniting for Wrestlemania in April and do it again.

Hopefully the weather will be much nicer then it is now. It was actually raining when we got to Dom's house but 5 hours later we walked out into a heavy sloppy snow. The weather is just creating havoc with our roads as huge potholes are developing on all the major road ways. But since its still snowing and cold,the county really can't fix them and the potholes get bigger every day.

 I finally did a smart thing and canceled my cable TV. I should have done it a long time ago. Truly there is nothing more depressing then the state of cable TV. Its just a barren wasteland of god awful "reality" shows and the movie channels playing the same shitty 20 year old movie. So I pulled the plug on it this week,felt pretty good too.
   Seems like Dollar Tree Theater is a big hit with some readers. Right now I am making my way through a DVD of Sherlock Holmes. A company has included the classic four Basil Rathbone films from the 30's and 40's along with the 39 episodes from a 1954 series that ran for only one year despite good reviews.

I am making my way through the TV series first. As noted,the series came out in 1954 and was a hit with both the public and reviewers. The show was in black and white and very low budget. To save costs,many actors were on the show playing different parts in different episodes. A couple of well known names did guest spots,most noted being Natalie Schafer (who played a murderess!) from "Gilligan's Island" and Michael Gough who played Alfred in the Batman films.

Ronald Howard played Sherlock Holmes. He was the son of famed actor Leslie Howard and had gotten into the acting game a little late. He was 36 when the show debuted. I like his cool portrayal as Holmes,he comes across as totally in control but does shows some chinks in his armor (The Case of the Christmas Pudding) when a convicted killer swears revenge.
   The chemistry among Holmes and his Dr. Watson was excellent. This was because Dr. Watson was

played by H. Marion Crawford,who really wanted to play Dr. Watson in a Holmes project. Early episodes had Watson being a bit of a buffoon but this quickly changed as he developed a habit for disarming the various murderers that Holmes uncovered. By a quick punch or a crack shot,Crawford's Watson held his own very well.
 Of course no Sherlock Holmes series or story can't be complete without the aid of  Scotland Yard's own dogged inspector Lestrade. Now this is where a lot of folks who do Sherlock Holmes mess up...even in the classic film series,they often portray Lestrade is a lesser light or as comedy relief. But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle didn't. He had Lestrade as a good cop but never quite understanding how Holmes just knew things so fast.
  This is the only weakness of this series,the Lestrade here is played as a bumbling bit of a fool who Holmes uses for his own self amusement.

Lestrade was portrayed by Scottish actor Archie Duncan. He did a nice job in a pretty thankless role.

What was interesting about this series was that it was filmed entirely in France. Sets were built to resemble London and 221B Baker Street. Several adventures were set in France and Belgium.
I picked this DVD up at Target during Christmas for 4.00,its very much worth the price.

An update on Don from my last entry. A outpouring of love and support rolled in to help Don and his 4 kids. A Good Samaritan paid his DTE bill,warm clothes and food were gathered and most importantly,he got a job. Because of the overwhelming support,they ended up far more items then they needed so they paid it forward in donating the extras to folks in need.

Last week I was just relaxing when Paladin decided to come curl up on my chest. He slept for a few minutes then started to go to town on cleaning his foot. He tugged,licked and tugged some more on his foot trying to get it perfectly clean. I managed to snap some pictures of him and so I thought I share this one on the way out.

Patrick Michael's photo.

He certainly is a ham....

Alrighty then....time to wrap this up.....I will be featuring a guest blogger in my next entry. Might even surprise you as to who it is. I read the blog and was so impressed that I asked if I could post it here. Its a interesting topic that I think is pretty near to any parent's heart.

As I am wrapping this up I see that Phillip Seymour Hoffman has died of a heroin overdose. He had been in rehab last year for his addiction but sadly couldn't break away from his urge to shoot up. He was a gifted actor who won a Oscar for "Capote". He was only 46 when he died.

Shout outs

Lon Lopez - Super Bowl and KFC! Good times!
Deb - The Sherlock Holmes review was for you!
Maren- Aren't you glad the game is almost here?
Barb- Thank you for the dinner.
Dax - Thank you and I hope you approve
Dom and Jerome - Thanks so much for Saturday,the Christmas gift was a blast!
Phil Johnson- Bet you never thought I was keeping tabs on your rise.
Christine - Trust me,pizza WILL happen soon!
Oakwood - Can you justify a 4,300.00 bill for a single kidney stone?

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