Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Good Bad Good

Good: The dialysis center runs a fairly extensive blood panel on Gail every month, and her bloodwork continues to be very good. Her calcium and phosphorous and iron and all that stuff is in the normal range.

Bad: She is getting more and more tired all the time. Part of it is mental; it's hard to be waiting all the time month after month. But I think it is mostly physical; machines can't fully replace two functioning kidneys. I try to encourage her to come home early and take an occasional day off from work, but she worries about not having enough leave time at work to cover her surgery and recuperation.

Good: I don't know what our horoscopes would say, but we have been graced with the reappearance in our lives of a number of old friends. At a 70th birthday party for a friend, a whole group of us got together for the first time in years. Lots of changes have happened since we last had seen each other. Several of us were single again, two were in wheelchairs, Gail on dialysis, one with a son in prison, one with a newly minted law degree, several retired, and all of us glad to see each other again. And, to add sweetness onto sweetness, we have also made contact with some long lost dear friends from Aikido.

Somehow we lost contact with these beloved people because of some temporary friction or unpleasantness. But all that is lost in the past now, and doesn't even make an appearance. All that remains is very sweet, and it is very good.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

We're Number 1!

We talked to our transplant coordinator yesterday, and he said there has been a little movement on the list. A man got called for a transplant yesterday, and once his transplant happens, Gail will be number one on the regional list.

Now you may have thought she was already #1 on the list. Well, she was at the top...among the handfull of people at the top of the list. But now, she really is the first name; assuming the other transplant happened.

So, my little statistician brain tells me, if they did 19 kidney/pancreas transplants all last year, and Gail's blood type (A) is 34% of the population in the US, then...ticka ticka tocka...she would be an appropriate recipient for 6.5 transplants a year, which is ... one about every two months.

So, statistically speaking (aka: having nothing to do with the real world), she should get a call in two months, which would be in the end of April, which would really comply with the Principal of Inconvenience. That alone give great credence to my prognostication!

However, there are few things in the world quite as random as the availability of organs, so we'll keep our suitcases packed and ready.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New Dryer

Our old clothes dryer that we bought at a garage sale 20 years ago has finally started wheezing instead of drying. Time to replace it! We stop in Sears and choose a nice gas dryer to be delivered today.

At home, Robin is puzzled about our choice. He doesn't remember seeing a gas line in the laundry room. We dismissively assure him that it is a gas dryer; nobody in Santa Cruz would ever have an electric dryer because they are so expensive.

He considers our firm and unequivocable response and doesn't say anything else, because his mama didn't raise no fool.

Today the new dryer is delivered, and the set-up guy points out that we do not have a gas line in the laundry room.

Gail and I are baffled; Robin is galantly trying to control his snarky smirks.

And I call Sears to request a replacement dryer of the electric persuasion, to be delivered in a day or two.

It is simply amazing to me how two ostensibly intelligent people can so firmly believe something to be true in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

There's probably a lesson in this somewhere, but who has time to think about it?

I need to go read some information proving that gay marriage will be the end of civilization.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Because we have been expecting the call from the transplant center "any day now" (for the last year), Gail has not wanted to make an appointment with her endocrinologist (her diabetes doctor). I finally bullied her into it, and we went this morning.

He was fairly gracious about someone showing up out of nowhere after 16 months of absence with no lab work and having lost a glucose monitor. He wants her to meet with the diabetic educator to do a three day sensitivity test to get her insulin pump calibrated correctly. This is a very very good thing for her to do. Her blood sugars have been all over the place, and we have not calibrated the pump since she went on dialysis. It is a difficult three day test where you have to fast a lot and wake up in the middle of the night to test your blood sugar. The idea is that you need to see how much insulin your body needs on its own; then you figure out how much you need to add when you eat something. She hasn't done one of these since she went on the pump a number of years ago. And it makes sense that it would be affected by being on dialysis, but we don't know how.

But Gail is a stubborn, obstinate monkey, and just can't see why she needs to keep seeing him since she won't be a diabetic anymore once she gets the transplant.

I hate it when we act so stereotypical. Humans are just silly.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Like the good citizens we are, Gail and I both voted on Tuesday. For the first time in our 25 years together, we split our vote. But we don't care, because we know we'll be united in November when it really counts.

Because it was such a momentous event, I voted with Gail at our regular precinct, rather than just voting downstairs at the Elections Office. When we walked out together, Gail was just beaming. I asked her why, and she said she felt like she had just taken communion, all holy and virtuous.

She is so cute.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cheryl and Joe

Cheryl and Joe
Originally uploaded by gr8what
This is the introduction I gave for Cheryl at the awards.

“Somehow it has all added up to song.”

That line, from The Peace of Wild Things, the work Cheryl conducted with us in Carnegie Hall, pretty much sums up Cheryl Anderson: But other songs can add to this story.

In Aaron Copeland’s The Tenderland, we sang “The promise of living, the promise of growing is labor, and sharing, and loving.”

Cheryl is an alchemist: it is her life’s work to turn lead into gold, to transmute the common into the extraordinary. The gold she creates is music brought to life; the common material she is transmuting is us, her singers. That transformation happens through her labor, her sharing, and her loving.

It takes a lot of labor to do what Cheryl does. As a matter of fact, most people think that Cantiamo is Italian for “Let’s sing.” Actually, it means “You’ll work harder than you ever thought you could!” We have decided that the Cantiamo motto is “Nos mos somnus ut nos es mortuus:” We’ll sleep when we’re dead.” But we don’t mind working that hard because first of all, we know Cheryl is working harder than we are, and because she shares with us her deep love and passion for the music we are creating.

In The Rune of Hospitality, we sang “I saw a stranger yestere’en: I put food in the eating place, Drink in the drinking place, music in the list’ning place, and he blessed myself and my dear ones.”

These words remind me that Cheryl loves to party, and dance, and eat great food, and have a wonderful time with her friends. We have closed down more restaurants in more cities than I can remember; we have sung more 20-part, no-melody happy birthdays to strangers at adjoining tables than I can count, and when Cheryl is around, we are always the last table to clear out after a wedding party, a bat mitzvah, a post-concert celebration or, well, after anything actually. If the song had included putting shoes in the shopping place and hound dogs in the howling place, it would have really described Cheryl.

But as fun as she is, the real reason we love her, the reason we would walk over broken glass to sing for her, is because she makes us better than we think we can be.

Harry Kemp wrote “But chief of all thy wondrous works, supreme of all thy plan, thou has put an upward reach into the heart of man.”

That’s what Cheryl has done for us. She has taken a bunch of little kids and students, teachers and doctors and the occasional bureaucrat and turned us into singers who perform at Carnegie Hall. She opened our hearts to dreams we didn’t dare dream, and she helped us make those dreams come true.

“Somehow it has all added up to song.”

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present Cheryl Anderson.