Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
Another month deserves a new trotter.ws webpage. I have slipped into publishing weekly since not enough happens for anything more frequent and, if I don't record once-a-week, our lives will appear as if nothing is happening. (Maybe that's the truth.) To reflect our current life, I will continue the three-element format started last month: Ukraine; Health; "Distractions".
April 5, Tuesday morning edition
Ukraine and War
Thinking about the war in Ukraine continues to color most things we worry about. Friend Lena was able to get her ailing parents out of Kyiv and her father is now in hospital care in Teplice in the Czech Republic. That was the good news. The bad news was that she and her two boys were unable to find housing in Germany and have moved on to Maastrcht in The Netherlands, hoping for better options in the smaller country. All we can do is wish her luck and have faith in her own resourcefulness.
The Russians have moved out of Chornobyl, the focus of my own work 20 years ago. Reportedly, they took contaminated dirt with them: inhaled, contaminated dirt. Early on, when the Russian army first showed up, we saw a Facebook posting where the plant management had complained that the invaders were ignoring years of caution by mucking about in the ground around the old plant. Now it seems that the 38-years-past accident will claim more victims.
Overall, these last days have seen the departure of the invading forces from around Kyiv, leaving behind a record of incompetence and inhumanity that will stain Russia for decades. Nazism tainted Germany for a generation or more and Putinism will do the same for Russia.
Health: Cancer, Chemo, and Covid
It has been good-news-bad-news. The good: Covid is on the way out, for now. Marianne got her booster, after three regular doses recommended for chemo patients. I'm OK with three total, for now. I wonder how long it will take for Marianne and me to to abandon masks, like most folks seem to be doing. Soon, I think.
Chemo has been the bad-news part of "health". Feeling poorly, Marianne has "failed" a pair of weekly blood tests, thus postponing her treatment. We hope this week will be different. It's strange to be hoping for enough health improvement to allow for further poisoning. Chemotherapy remains a barbaric treatment.
Otherwise, our physical health is good, considering we are pretty stationary. For a few years now, I have been using a Fitbit watch to monitor my resting heart rate. The rate has been sensitive to eating, drinking, exercise, and general activity. For two weeks, my life was so unchanging that the recorded rate stalled at 54 bpm. Even my heart was bored. Good news, bad news again.
Distractions have been rare. The garden view from my office is improving, as the plants and trees put on Spring leaves.
Marianne keeps busy with her art class, working on new exercise paintings almost every day. Abstract painting is far more complex and planned than we non-experts would ever imagine, but I am being taught a little bit by observing. It's an interesting process and I do like the results.
Almost all the rest of the week's activity happened on Saturday. Cambridge Avenue organized their annual yard sale on the first weekend of April, a tradition that had been scuttled by Covid in 2020 and 2021. Marianne and I opted to not be sellers, mostly because I could not get organized and enthused. Maybe next year. Reportedly, other neighbors did well this year, trading garage storage stuff for cash. Again, that was the good news. The bad news was that two neighbors were stuck with counterfeit cash. Some people are not nice.
That evening, friends Tari and Jack treated us to a night out at the stage musical Hamilton. The play's San Francisco company brought their Broadway-quality staging, singing, and energy to Fresno's Saroyan Theater and we were impressed with the results. Understanding the rap lyrics was difficult (almost impossible), but enjoyable nonetheless. Thanks.
For the rest of our week, distractions were our normal: art for Marianne and neighborhood walks and photographs for me. Note the new dove.
And that's the start of April. Hopefully, this month will see the end of war in Ukraine, chemotherapy at home, and an increase in distractions.
Stay in touch.
John and Marianne.