Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

Lilyturf, bronze pin heads, and ungrammatical yucca

October 15, 2017

All on a recent trip to Stanford Shopping Center, where I hadn’t been for several years. After massive reconstruction, it’s even more upscale than before, with a huge range of very high-end stores with designer facades and interiors (the older buildings, like Macy’s, now look like commercial architecture from a previous age), plus, in the mall’s ad copy, “breathtaking gardens, sculptures and fountains” and places to sit everywhere — the last important to me as I cope with shortness of breath under exertion. The effect is of world-class shopping streets located in the middle of extraordinary public parks (though it’s all very much private property).

A quick general tour, then three specific items: masses of lirope, or lilyturf, an amiable and modest plant, in the midst of extravagantly showy plantings; whimsical “pin head” bronze sculptures by Albert Guibara; and the oddly named fusion-Cantonese restaurant Yucca de Lac (with plenty of yuccas and a lot of dim sum, but, here in Palo Alto, no lake; lakelessness is not, however, the real problem with the name).

(more…)

kaleidoscopic

September 28, 2017

From Bonnie and Ed Campbell, on the occasion of my cataract surgery yesterday, something for me to enjoy looking at: an animated greeting card from the Jacquie Lawson company, with kaleidoscopic autumnal images. A screen capture from it:

 (#1) Leaves, berries, and acorns (in 6-part symmetry)

(more…)

Two lx profs and two psych profs walk into a surgery center

September 27, 2017

… and a combat over brains and minds ensues. Well, no. Actually:

… and they talk about the infirmities and indignities of growing old. Kim Darnell (senior lecturer in psychology at Georgia State for many years) took me (adjunct professor of linguistics at Stanford, professor emeritus of linguistics at Ohio State) to the Surgery Center at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, where we ran into Eve Clark (professor emeritus of linguistics at Stanford) and Herb Clark (professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford). Usually shop talk would have ensued, but in the context our minds were on the rickety bodies of the three senior members of the group. (Kim is one generation younger than the rest of us.)

(more…)

Black bread and pickled herring

September 26, 2017

Kim Darnell, on a grocery shopping run for me, came across a line of very thinly sliced, dark, dense, intensely-flavored rye breads from the German company Mestemacher — one variety marketed as “Natural Fitness Bread”:

(#1)

She was tickled by the name, and also remembered bread like this with pleasure. As did I: the black bread (Schwarzbrot, sometimes called Bauernbrot ‘peasant bread’) of my childhood. A platform for cheese, sliced smoked meat, and (especially) pickled herring (herring in sour cream was a great favorite of mine).

(more…)

A sapsucking planthopper

September 24, 2017

… and more; eventually there will be draft horses, covered bridges, and distelfinks. But first, a bulletin from my cousin Eleanor Severin Houck about the advance of the spotted lanternfly in southeastern Pennsylvania (Eleanor is in Berks County, county seat Reading, in the Pa. Dutch country, where we both grew up).

From the annals of noxious pests, double-team division, a pairing of the disgusting and destructive insect pest Lycorma deliculata with the rampant invasive plant pest Ailanthus altissima.

(more…)

Briefly 9/21/17: paresthesia

September 21, 2017

My friend Mikkie wrote movingly this morning about trying to get relief from nerve pain following on a stroke he had a while back; unfortunately, the only medication for his condition isn’t compatible with other drugs he’s taking, so he’s miserable. In any case, his doctor supplied a name for his condition — a variety of paresthesia — and paresthesia turns out to be, for me, a chronic fact of life, ever since my necrotizing fasciitis disaster of 2003. Constant but low-level, not soul-absorbing (as it’s been for Mikkie).

(more…)

Three years of Xmas sweets

September 12, 2017

On the 8th, a posting about Ann Daingerfield Zwicky’s notebook of memorable meals at 63 W. Beaumont Rd. in Columbus OH from August 1969 (when we arrived in Columbus) through 1974. After that there are only a few scattered pages, including one in Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky’s hand that reports on the 1980, 1982, and 1983 versions of a long-standing household custom: making great piles of sweets (candies and cookies) for guests at Christmastime.

These three lists make for warm memories, but also sad ones, since 1983 was the end of the tradition. In December 1984, Ann was too close to death for there to be any kind of Xmas celebration. She died a few weeks later, in January, and the Ohio Christmases came to an end; Christmas 1985 was Jacques’s and my first one in California, in a new and different life.

(more…)

Further adventures in medicine

September 12, 2017

Background: I’ve been a bit short of breath for some time, but with stretches of phenomenally hot days (starting back on a day in May when it was 110 F in downtown Palo Alto), things got dramatically worse. The nephrologist at first thought it might be connected to my reduced kidney function (there’s a complex story of possible connections there), and then the cardiologist was quite sure the problem was with my heart, probably the coronary arteries, and ordered up a series of scans and tests. (I’ve endured a great deal of doctoring, with lots more to come: cataract surgery starts on the 27th.)

In there were heart CT scans, which showed nothing that would explain my shortness of breath. Nobody was particularly concerned about my lungs, however, since they sounded so great on stethoscopic examination. But a chest CT scan, done on August 29th, however, showed two things:

Calcified granuloma in the right lower lobe. Areas of subsegmental atelectasis, especially right lower lobe.

I will explain. In any case: spirometry and a pulmonologist’s appointment on the 25th.

(more…)

Dinners at Beaumont Rd., 1969-1973

September 8, 2017

Samples from a notebook kept by Ann Daingerfield Zwicky (with my help) of dinners at 63 W. Beaumont Rd., Columbus OH, for 1969 through 1973 — dinners that were notable for their food, their occasion, or their company. We moved into the house in August 1969, after Ilse Lehiste engineered my move from UIUC to OSU, so she was our first guest. On a very yellowed page:

(#1) 8/14/69

(more…)

Locked out, memorably

September 8, 2017

A little while ago my old friend J, an American, went to an international linguistics congress. From a message to me yesterday (edited to conceal identities), about an encounter J had with a European colleague, G, there:

(Note: not an accurate depiction of my Staunton Court condo, or of J or G.)

(more…)