Toad in the Hole

January 10, 2006

Stress Hierarchies

So I've been discussing the classic sources of stress with our friend Emma. Emma is bunching 'em just now: She just changed jobs; she's moving (to Vacaville! The new job's in Fairfield.) (from an apartment landlorded by Bali Reddy Lakireddi, or Lakireddy Bali Reddy,, in both configurations); in the process, she's given away all her fish and aquaria (but not her herps) (and not to us). Her mother died late last year; her father had died within the last two years. So she's stressin'.

She likes the job so far, though. Her last one wasn't exactly a hard act to follow.

We just installed OS X (Tiger) on the laptop. We weren't exactly eager to mess with all that stuff -- computer upgrades generally fall under the heading of Schlimmbesserung -- bad "improvements" -- anyway, and all these cute new kittycat things from Apple are getting to sound like Michael Jackson's just-one-more-nose-job, really. But we finally hit the wall, where we need OS X to make something essential work with the computer. We're both still alive and neither of us is vomiting blood or sagging on one side or even filing divorce papers, so.

It's spang in the middle of my own traditional late-winter funk, which doesn't help. Clinical-grade funks do have an effect on one's cognitive faculties. (I had to ask Joe to help me find the word "cognitive," e.g.) There have been a few other potholes lately, including the braces (frighteningly expensive, ugly, which I don't need any more of, an interference with one of my chief remaining pleasures, and physically annoying when they're not painful) and some stuff I don't blog about, which is actually a bigger deal day-to-day. Instead, I bitch about the braces.

Oh, and things don't look so good over at Terrain either, and it's chipping flakes off my heart even though I ran away screaming. I actually do like the current staff and hate to see them getting bled dry, and besides I'm still fond of the old rag -- we did stuff no one else did. Like the man said.

So the point is that one of the many surprises about getting old is that there's such a thing as a trivial cancer. It's definitely not trivial that the dermatologist poked my nose with needles and sliced off the apparent colorless mole (which at least was numb) and left me to finish my Yule shopping with a ridiculous gauze dressing on my nose. But the biopsy (which conveniently required the whole bump, good riddance) showed a basal call carcinoma, which despite the scary name is not such a big deal. "Here's a specialist. You should get it taken care of, oh, before Easter."


So yeah, I will, and yeah, it's true that the C-word sets up great frazzles of static in one's brain for a few days, and yeah, in contrast to the other stuff biting my ass recently, well, it's trivial.

My right big toenail's falling off -- no medical connection with the rest of that -- and that's probably going to be a bigger annoyance, depending on what shoes I want to wear. I have two pairs that aren't absolutely flat (one-inch heel or less, both of them) and that might be a dealbreaker for a few months. Eh. Getting old really is the death of a thousand cuts, though. After a while they all get to feeling the same.

Posted at January 10, 2006 11:30 PM


Well, might a baseball outing to Oakland (second try) this weekend help at all? Saturday or Sunday, they're closed on Monday? Or is the toenail thing going to make that more of a misery than fun?

Posted by: Pica at January 11, 2006 03:01 PM

Yeah, but ... but...there is always Ham day to look forward too...

Posted by: Janis at January 11, 2006 07:48 PM

Ham Day! Hamsters! Ham hat! Hampersands! Hampers of ham in Hamsterdam! I Ham What I Ham! Hamboree! Hamboozlement! Ad Majorem Dei GloriHam!

Mmmmm, ham!

Posted by: Ron at January 11, 2006 08:32 PM

well, shit. there i was, nodding along about layers of stress monkeys and how they are an annoying pain in the ass. throw in a little cancer, though -- i think it is a particularly evil joke when you have to deal with braces and winter and job stress and cancer. even a bitty cancer.

ham day sounds fun, though, whatever that is.

Posted by: kathy a at January 13, 2006 09:22 PM

That's the thing -- maybe it's about proportion, maybe it's about being an old fart who caresl less, maybe it's too much bourbon. But I know BCC to be very slow-growing and not particularly prone to metastasizing, and that bump's been on my nose unchanged for at least a decade.

Then again, more knives on my nose is not appealing. I really do have to sit on my hands.

Ham Day is that a half-dozen of us foodies plan to get together at one couple's house to eat as much as we can of a ham that one of ordered from some hammery back East. Previous hams from that place have been spectacular; this is a new type for us from them -- a city ham, as I'd place it -- and thus even more of an adventure. Plus everybody's contributing sides, and there are several demon cooks in the crowd.

Joe's making a Shaker lemon pie if our recent windfall of Meyer lemons holds out that long.

Posted by: Ron at January 14, 2006 06:21 PM

On the upside, probably people won't be giving you any pink teddy bears.

Posted by: Twisty at January 15, 2006 12:35 AM

God damn. That would be worse than needles in my nose.

Though I confess I have two stuffed giant anteaters and an inherited stuffed Hawg.

Posted by: Ron at January 15, 2006 03:37 AM

well sure, you gotta have support, so long as it isn't an enforced pink.

i don't think i'll ask about the anteaters, but is the stuffed hawg a motorcycle? or animalish? or should i skip those quesions?

my own office features a singing, dancing chicken, plush and with an off-switch. she was a gift, and you and twisty are welcome to borrow her. i'd also rather have needles in my nose [or other places] than an avid bearer of pink bears in my face.

Posted by: kathy a at January 16, 2006 06:54 AM

Good grief, is that evil ass Reddy still on the loose? My kid was editor of the Berkeley High newspaper when they scooped the Chron and other big papers on that teen sex slave story 7 or 8 or whatever years ago (I'm too OLD to do math!).

I've had a couple of "trivial" cancers, and it's funny how the stress sneaks up on you. It tends to lurk beneath the surface where you don't notice it because you're so busy being stoic and brave and non-chalant, so you don't DEAL with it, until suddenly you're all, wtf? Why the hell am I falling to pieces NOW?

Posted by: Liz at January 17, 2006 04:50 PM

Wow, Liz, I'll buy your kid a beer anytime. (counting on fingers) Yeah, that should be legal by now. I remember that scoop, and without any real right to it I was proud as all hell of Berkeley High's journalists. I still brag on them.

Reddy's in the slammer for a few more years, I think, and so is a son or so. But the family empire is still intact, with a few name changes. And the maintenance is a crappy as ever, even for assertive tenants. (I'm sure some incompetent boob breathed a sigh of relief when Emma moved.) Just a month ago, we were sitting at her table when a geyser erupted from the kitchen sink. There was much running back and forth among the neighbors persuading everyone to turn off their drain disposals until the blockage could be found, because when the water went down in one person't sink it went up in another's. Comical but icky. There were still chunks of the building lying around from that when she moved out.

About the stress... Come to think of it I have been wasting a lot of time sorta compulsively playing solitaire lately.

Ooh, and now our toilet's leaking, evidently. Not being tenants, we have to pay for the plumber ourselves; then again, we can hire a competent one.

Posted by: Ron at January 17, 2006 06:32 PM

kathy, you better watch out. I might take you up about that chicken. There's an incriminating pic of me in the infamous Raw Chicken Viking Hat linked somewhere upstream in this blog. I still have possession of the hat.

Joe gets upset when I threaten to wear it outside of the house though. Have I ever said anything about his fez? NOooooo. In fact, I got it for him.

As for the hawg, he's a plush Arkansas Razorback, I think from the Hog Pen in Little Rock. He has a companion stuffed javelina too.

Somewhere (probably in the garage, alas) I have a Hawg Hat, which is plastic and. well, I bet there are images somewhere on Google. They beat all hell out of Cheese Hats IMO. My father-in-law bought it for me when he saw the look on my face the first time I saw one. I was struggling to figure out how to say, "That's the damnedest thing I've seen in years" without saying "damn" in front of my mother-in-law.

Posted by: Ron at January 17, 2006 06:40 PM

I was just reading the stories about that sleaze.

And his son.

Immigartion fraud and sexual trafficking of teenagers is "no worse than a traffic citation?"

And yet BushCo wants to allow more H1B visia, with less oversight?


Posted by: Craig R. at January 26, 2006 06:36 PM