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Friday, July 22, 2011

Lyn's advice to make sure I take care of myself, not only Susie, and my reply

Lyn Shaw, a good friend of Susie and me, wrote the following today:
Hi, Bob:
      Is my intuition right, that things are calming a bit for you now that your Susie is home and there is a great new purpose in your life, that of being her literal helpmate?  What a relief that Susie's thumb doesn't need such cumbersome bandaging........She's clearly doing well. Her attitude is good, probably because she has you to care for her so attentively. ( But don;t forget, as a caregiver, to take breaks, i.e.walks, etc.), giving attention to yourself. Balance is the key, says Dr. Lyn:-)     Lyn

And my Reply:

Thanks, Lyn, for you kind thoughts and wise advice.  I am taking care of myself.  Last week I took the following "breaks" for myself, all while visiting Susie every day at Hartford Hospital.  

Monday, July 11--had lunch at Kent Baker's place, and a swim in his pool.

Tuesday--went to the 12:10 p.m. free dance performance by A.I.M. at Crowell.
              went to the 7:30 p.m. Neely Bruce Ives and Duckworth Concert 

Wednesday--had lunch at Pattaconk Grill in Chester with Paul Orsina, a long-time friend and former law client for whom I tried several jury cases and court cases, all of which we won.  (By the way, I've also lost cases, overestimated my client's legal position, and otherwise had bad outcomes, although fewer than my successes over 35 years in the courtroom.  Just didn't want anybody to get the idea that I won ever case.  My practice was more like Rumpole of the Bailey than Perry Mason, who won ever case as far as I recall, and in the most improbable way, by a full confession in open court, during cross-examination by Attorney Ironsides Mason.)

Thursday--went to Jazz night at the Canoe Club on the CT River in Middletown from 6 to 8 p.m. and then at 8 p.m. to the Marc Bamuthi Joseph performance of rap, poetry, prose, and dance at the Wesleyan Center for the Arts.

Friday--saw Shakespeare's Argument by Art Farm at Middlesex Community College, theater in the grove (of tall pine trees), a wonderful theatrical experience.

Saturday--attended a Buttonwood Tree performance by Occidental Gypsies, an excellent instrumental and singing group.  Then went to Mezzo Grill where I experienced for the first time the amazing Caribbean-inspired gigantic deck and bar area, followed by dancing in the upstairs disco, which had a really good black DJ from NYC.  As the only 61-year-old, uninhibited "old" man in the place, other than the bouncers, and also the only man in the club not on the lookout for picking up anyone, being a happily married man, I danced for two hours, from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., with lots of people coming up to me to dance, mostly young women but also some guys whose girlfriends would not come out onto the dance floor.  I did have young men, white and black, coming up to me and offering to buy me drinks, although I'd had one beer in the outside area and only wanted water, which they got for me.  The question I mostly got asked by these guys, the white guys, that is, is, "Who ARE you?" i.e., how are you so free and uninhibited with that graying beard of yours.  When I explained that I'm a 61-year-old, happily married man, with four kids and a grandson, and internally very free after retiring from my 35-year-straight-jacket, but interesting, career as a trial lawyer, they fully understood and gave me high-fives, forearm bumps, and closed fist bumps, with smiles on their faces.  My advice to anyone who wants to do what I do on a dance floor when I'm all alone is this--just dance, let people come up to you to dance, make absolutely no attempt to ask anyone their name, tell them your name, or make any small talk, and keep your hands TOTALLY to yourself, and the message comes across, LOUD AND CLEAR, that you're there to DANCE and HAVE A BLAST, not pick anyone up.  No problems then ensue.  None at all.  Just one heck of a fun time for an "old" grandude.  Of course, when I saw Susie at Apple Rehab the next day, I tell all the details of what I've done, and she just gets a kick out of it.

Sunday--had dinner on the upper deck of the Canoe Club overlooking the CT River with my sister, Carol, who drove up from a get-together she had in Cape May, N.J. with high school friends from Frankford H.S.  We then walked to Destinta Movie Theater and saw "Larry Crowne," the new romantic comedy with lots of scooter action, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. 

Monday, July 18--had an afternoon walk and talk with Bill Roberts.

Tuesday--went to the 12:10 p.m. free performance of "They Might Just Be Gypsies," at Crowell Concert Hall, a father and his 16-year-old son from VT, on guitars, and Scott Kessel, from Middletown, on home-made cardboard box, tin can, and playing card drum kit.  Amazing guitar-playing, gypsy, flamenco, and very fast, and slow, style.

Wednesday--went from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Wadsworth Mansion back lawn free concert of The Michael Cleary Band.  I wandered around and talked with lots of people, then danced near the band with 50 other people, for the last hour-and-a-half.  Again, like  at Mezzo Grill, lots of good, clean, exhilarating, fun.

Thursday, last night, July 22--went to an encore performance of Shakespeare's Argument at MXCC, preceded by an hour of performance by "They Might Be Gypsies," who stayed in town just so they could play again for us lucky Middletownians.  Then from 8:40 to 10 p.m. I went over to the Canoe Club on the river, to listen to jazz sung by Linda Ransom, a very good jazz singer, and her little band.  I talked most of the time with Trevor Davis's cousin, Tim Nettleton, who's 57th birthday it was yesterday.  We shared some interesting stories from our respective lives.  

Now, in case you don't understand how I can do all the above and still take care of Susie, the fact is, I can, and I do.  I'm available to her every day, most of the entire day, and then I often go out for a few hours at night.  As Lyn Shaw and my cousin Kathleen Kalhoff have told me, it's important that I take care of Susie, not smother her with care, and take care of myself.  I know I'm doing all three, i.e. taking care of Susie, and me, and not smothering her.  

More another time.....



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