Radium Girls

You hate a story about a corporate coverup. And you hate it the entire time because you get to know the humans who suffered, and you don’t know if they’ll be around to see justice served. You don’t know how people running these corporations are ok with concealing evidence and deceiving employees and the public about how dangerous working conditions were.

Many, many women suffered.

But they persevered. And they were loved and had tireless lawyers who did not stop until justice prevailed. Until regulations changed.

Their families and friends supported them. Loved them. Spoke fondly of them. And wistfully.

Heartbreaking.

And then other corporations can’t learn from the past and try the same shit.

Infuriating.

You hate it.

(But you love it because the story is so important, and its effects extend to our day. And your heart opens to the families of these sufferers.)

I guess there’s a Netflix movie about it. The review this photo came from said the movie could have been better.

Readers

Today my readers returned after their lenses had been changed. I was wondering if they would ever be fixed. And I was wondering if I would ever read anything up close again. I was worrying that I’d be resigned to reading billboards or anything else from a distance. A life without reading doesn’t sound awesome. Thankfully they came, and here I am without and with them. (Yes, I’m singing U2’s “With or Without You” to myself right now.)

Reilly had an all-day training for his work today, so I got to look after Z. I had a hard time remembering how I managed watching her, teaching her, and doing my job during the pandemic. It seriously blows my mind. I worked for a few hours, then we took a break at a park she likes, then we picked up some groceries, then we picked up my glasses. When we came home I worked a little more, then I prepared dinner while Z had therapy. After that we ate dinner, then I came down to the basement and worked for a little while longer before calling it a day.

We tucked our girl in, I took my allergy medicine, and now I’m about to eat some cheesecake the neighbors made for us. I’m very excited.

Rough day, indeed.

Working in the Yard

Today Reilly borrowed his dad’s truck and some chainsaws. He and my brother cut down some ugly trees from our yard. Trees that were rotting. And not providing useful shade. And blocking sunlight from plants we actually like. We’ve been meaning do this for years now, but we’ve finally got around to doing something about it. After cutting down the trees, Reilly and my brother made a couple of trips to the dump to dispose of them. The yard looks much better, which improves the facade of our house.

One of the trees exposed one side of a bush that desperately needs water and sunlight. The bush also needed trimming, which is what I worked on. I wish I’d taken a before photo, but here’s what the bush looks like now. I still need to take off another inch or two. By the way, it’s the other side of this bush that looks horrible and needs nurturing. Maybe once it grows back I can sculpt the whole bush into a family selfie or something:

Speaking of sculpting, handling those shears gave my shoulders a workout.

My arms are going to be sore tomorrow.

Progressive Lenses as Metaphor

Not obsessing, I promise.

Just wanted to show you what my glasses do.

See how the text in the top half of the lens is smaller, and in the bottom the text is bigger? My eyeballs need these adjustments. I have contacts that behave like the top half of these lenses, and I’m waiting on my readers to have the correct lenses put in so that I can see up close.

This book is called World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. It’s lovely so far. She discusses different species–flora and fauna–and how they relate to her life and humanity in general. I love her perspective. I love how different people can help us see life in so many different ways.

Aren’t axolotls cute?

Fixing Clarinets

Today I took my newer, not-my-33-year-old-student-model, Bb clarinet to the shop. I told the repairman it needed its yearly maintenance tune-up and to look at the transition between open G and B5: the seal might not be completely closed for a smooth jump up the register. He said that my place in the queue puts repairs about 10 days out.

So I can play my student model and/or my A clarinet in the meantime.

I also took my Gretsch metal clarinet apart today. The head on one of the screws had worn completely flat, so I spent some time gently hammering my smallest flathead screwdriver into that screw to form a groove deep enough for unscrewing. It got to where if I pushed hard enough into the screw and turned lefty-loosey, enough of the screw would be above the hole for me to unscrew the rest using needlenose pliers.

Glad that worked.

Gotta look at the springs and clean the keys and screws; replace the rest of the pads. Then put it all back together. I wonder if I have to buy a junk metal clarinet for parts just so that I get screws the right length. The repair kit I have is for modern clarinets, and not all the screws are the same size as those from the metal clarinet. Most of the screws are still good, though–it’s just the one that has a bad head.

It looks cool. Even if I don’t get it playing perfectly or at all, working on it is pretty fun.

A Park Today

A family of old trees stand together. Their trunks shoot straight up before branches spread out the sky. I love their shade. Their calm presence. Their steadiness.

These trees help obscure an old house adjacent to the park. The house looks scary. Signs along the fence read, “No trespassing.” The trees in that yard are also old. The other foliage is overgrown. Branches gnarl and twist and canopy what might be a lawn.

Large arches signal entryways (NO TRESPASSING), but simple chainlink lines the perimeter. Between long, stamped-down stretches of rusty webbing, it stands somewhat upright.

The family of old trees serve as sentinels. They warn against going past them. They are a much more effective fence than the janky wire barrier. I do not go beyond them.

The straightness of the trees gives me strength. Bestows courage. Grants power.

The will to stay away from that creepy, old house.

An Undeniably Complicated Day

(Mostly from Instagram)

Perspective shifts. Broadens and deepens.

We also celebrate nine years of marriage today.

Nine years are a big deal because it’s right before 10, which is always a big deal.

And this year in particular feels hopeful on the ever-so-slow upswing from the COVID-19 pandemic. We got through this year together. Like we can more robustly support efforts in increasingly struggling countries, because we have the reassurance of vaccination. We want to use our privilege to help others gain leverage. 

And we are on a sluggish yet fortunate political upswing since the election. Yeah, I went there. We’re lucky to support each other in this. Progress is observable and more measurable. This adds to our hope.

Grad school. Child. Homeownership. Loss. Healing. Compassion. Love. Love. Love. Love. We are happiest together. I love you, my man.

Nine years.

Let’s push for 90.

From Instagram Today

For my birthday yesterday we went to Paris.

JK! I got a green screen, and we’ve been playing with it.

I also got some books and cards and music and clothes, and a fun meal out with the family. And time with friends.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. You sure do know how to make a gal feel excited to be alive.

Happy Sunday, y’all.

45, let’s go.

Results

I had a mammogram yesterday. It was relatively quick. The process itself lasted maybe five minutes. The results appeared in my health record this morning.

Always a relief with these screenings. I’m going to be 45 tomorrow. It’s important to take care of myself.

Easier said than done for a majority of people who don’t have access to insurance. A medical services system must be in place to provide essential care to everyone.

Get regular mammograms. Get regular colonoscopies. Get maintenance checkups. These shouldn’t be available only to the privileged.

A friend found out some results of a biopsy yesterday. The diagnosis wasn’t great. And I wish that cancer would go eff itself.

This world is hard. Life is hard.