Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Not Many Words of Mine, but some From a Young Anyjazz

Recent goings on in the USA, and actions by the President of same leave me with no words fit to print on a family-style blog. My best wish would be for the President to be removed by some means or other (25th amendment to the Constitution?) It appears that is not likely to happen. Yes, there's an election coming in November, when We The People could remove Donald Trump from office, but as things are going it would not surprise me at all if that election were to be postponed - or cancelled.


I found, among my notes, this piece written long ago by my husband, known online as anyjazz (he's now aged 83). It illustrates his early experience of the wretched racial hatred which, as we have recently sadly seen, lives on still among some groups, in some areas of the USA.

Here's his piece:

Breakfast with Joe Williams

Back in the late [19]fifties, my old friend “Z” [Zee] and I took our girlfriends to see Count Basie. I didn’t own a car but “Z” borrowed his dad’s new Cadillac for the evening and we were in top style. I think we impressed our girlfriends.

It was a dance/concert sort of event. Basie’s big band had a couple of current hits right in the middle of the era of Bill Haley and the comets, Richie Valens, Elvis Presley and Fabian sensations. Basie’s band had charted well with a lovely recording of “April in Paris” which would earn them a Grammy. Joe Williams, Basie’s vocalist at the time, had a hit with “Every Day I Have the Blues.” So, an evening with Count Basie was a big deal. Really. A really memorable three or four hours.

The first number was “All Of Me” designed to make everybody pay attention. Anyone who has heard the Basie arrangement of the number will know what I mean.

When Joe Williams sang his first number he looked uncomfortable. He looked frightened to me. Maybe it was just me. Well it was the first time I had ever been to a concert where there were uniformed police wandering around in the crowd.

After the concert, we stood around on stage chatting with the band members as they packed up. “Z” handed his bottle of W L Weller to trombonist Al Grey for inspection. Al looked at the dregs and then at “Z” for approval. “Z” said “Aw, kill it. It’s not enough to haul home anyway.”

Basie and Freddie Greene had left in a limo and the rest of the band members were loading onto the band bus. Somehow, Al Grey and Joe Newman got left behind and we gave them a ride downtown to the Lassen Hotel in the Caddy.

Later we all crowded into the Lassen Hotel diner for breakfast. It was about two in the morning.

We all found stools at the counter. I sat between Joe Williams and Joe Newman. Now, it might be necessary for a reminder here; this was in Kansas in the late fifties. The diner staff was not too comfortable with serving several black musicians, famous or not.

Joe Williams ordered two eggs over easy. In a few minutes, the waitress came with his plate. The eggs were raw. He looked at the plate and then at the waitress.

“He can’t eat those, they’re raw!” I blurted without thinking. The waitress nodded and took the plate back. (I think she agreed.) She returned with a fresh plate, cooked right. Joe looked at me and said “Thank you.”

It was years later that I figured out what had happened. It was not my first lesson in bigotry but somehow that night I think I learned a bit of just how awful it was. I was sitting there between two fabulous black musicians and I was in star struck. Others in the same room were not impressed, in fact they were disgusted. If my famous black friend had complained, he would simply have been refused service and ejected.

Later that morning, we bid the tired musicians goodnight and safe journeys and we headed for home.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Memorial Weekend

I'm now an American citizen, but not American by birth. I do owe a debt of gratitude to  American servicemen and women who, during my early childhood during World War 2, came to the aid of Britain. Many fell in action, and the majority of those who were fortunate enough to return home will by now have passed on. Without the assistance of those Americans to our own brave military men and women in those dark and terrible days, it's hard to know how my beloved native Britain could have survived.

"Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them."
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Nothing of interest on the medical front right now. My next appointments will be in early July: a PET scan, with doctor follow-ups a week later. I am, therefore, trying to enjoy these "free" weeks as much as possible - it's a 'smiling under lockdown' kind of thing. :)

Monday, May 04, 2020

Quick Update

The trip to Cancer Center in Lawton OK went quite well - scheduled for 2.15 and we were home before 4 o'clock. Boiling hot day here - car registered 97 degrees on the way there and 100 to 104 degrees on the way back!

The few elderly patients awaiting appointments were well-scattered in a large waiting room. All nurses and receptionists wore masks (as did we). Our temperatures were taken before entering, surprisingly, my husband was allowed in with me. I suspect this might be because we are not exactly "local", not regulars at that particular Center.

Blood test came first, then, after the usual blood pressure check, weigh-in, and questions about pain etc by a nurse,  we had a short wait to see the oncologist.

I didn't realise until we were back in the car, ready to leave, that the doc didn't mention blood test results, and I hadn't remembered to ask about them, so things must be alright on that score. I answered the usual questions on how things had been since my last appointment, then a chest and shoulder examination, along with (in relation to my joint and muscle pain) tests of my grip and joint strengths. All appeared as well as might be expected. Doc did ask if I'd like to change the estrogen-blocker medication, suspected of causing the joint pains.  I decided to leave as is, as the alternative was the first medication I took after my original breast cancer diagnosis, which seems like aeons ago now. That medication really didn't suit at all - side effect-wise.

PET scans have not been available for some time due to covid-19. Doc will check when these are expected to be possible again. At my request he quickly agreed that I should schedule a scan during the days before my next appointment with him, in order that a long period of awaiting the result would not cause me weeks of anxiety. I told him candidly about my current feelings. I'd like whatever time I have left to be as anxiety free as possible, to better enjoy what I can of it. I explained that, should there be more trouble discovered by a scan, I doubt that I could stand more surgery or stronger chemo at this stage. He was understanding and kindly. He said that he, as a doctor must always listen to his patients' own needs and feelings.

I shall await hearing from our local Cancer Center as to the date of my next appointment with the oncologist, and regarding schedule of a PET scan earlier that same week or so.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Still Shut-in

I've no medical, or other, news to speak (or rather type)of. We're still shut-in. I do have a follow-up appointment with the oncologist on 4 May, this has to be in the main hospital of our group, it's in a big town some 30 minutes away. Apparently it's necessary for me to attend there once a year - something to do with billing, I think, it flippin' would have to be right now! It's mainly for blood work to check that all is still well. My original appointment was cancelled due to Covid-19. I'm not too happy about visiting the bigger town, things being as they are, Covid-19 wise. Our governor has allowed certain stores to re-open, even though there has been virtually no testing, so you never know who's wandering around infected without knowing it, and passing the virus on. We'll hope for the best. Husband will probably need to wait outside in the car. I'm told that they are being extra vigilant at the Cancer Center there - I should jolly well hope so!

A friend in the UK sent me this link, which I enjoyed - hope others might like it too:

Quarantine Through Art

Saturday, April 11, 2020


In the State of Oklahoma's neck of the virus-laden woods the numbers have moved on, at time of typing, to 1,868 positive cases of COVID-19, with 94 deaths. Peak numbers are estimated to arrive, for us, around 21st of April. We have no state-wide shut-in order, the order applies only to seniors and people with underlying health issues - we both fit on both counts.

We remain, therefore, shut-in. We're not finding the experience too demanding and, in all honesty it's not terribly different from the way our our life was immediately before this flippin' virus arrived on the scene. The fact that it's no longer wise for us to go shopping together for food, means that I can't pick my own treats, something I miss. We have options of using an Instacart delivery service from the supermarket, or of using the very early morning, non-Walmart 7 a.m. "seniors only" shopping hour, or 6 am at Walmart on Tuesdays only. Husband tried the 7 a.m. option last Sunday. We can also ask a relative to help out with shopping, leaving items on the front porch. This we did for a couple of items which had proved unavailable on Sunday morn. We are trying to ration items which are likely to become harder to obtain as time goes by, and use pasta, rice and beans-based stuff more often than usual.

I watch MSNBC daily, after many years of avoiding it like the plague - the plague has now sent me there for information! President Trump grows more dangerous day by day. I ask myself, and Himself, why cannot the monster be gotten rid of under Amendment 25 of the Constitution - surely some clever lawyer could do SOMETHING! The guy is unfit in so many ways it's (swearword) unbelievable that somebody cannot do something about it.

Below are a couple of links I saved early on in this peculiar span of virus-ridden time:

Tips from someone with 50 years of social distancing experience

Coronavirus: Stephen Fry's take on managing anxiety
Stay safe y'all!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Virus Tide

At the time of typing Oklahoma has 565 positive cases of COVID-19, and 23 deaths recorded. (24 hours later numbers are 719 and 30 deaths) On Saturday 4 April: 1,159 confirmed positive; 42 deaths. Little testing has been done in the region and one expert has estimated that 500+ is realistically 5,000+. Oklahoma Governor has ordered the over 65s, and others vulnerable due to health-related issues, to stay at home until 30 April, going out for truly essential reasons only. So far there is no state-wide "lock-down".

I chose to cancel the PET scan I had listed for today (31 March). I felt, after much consideration and for a few reasons, that it was the safest and best thing to do. I shall keep my appointment at the Cancer Center on Friday for a blood test to check blood count has not dipped too low for me to carry on taking the necessary meds. I shall see the oncologist then, if he's available - nothing is certain now that the virus high-tide is approaching us.

In other news: our little Redbud trees are blooming, helping to cheer us - I remember, last spring, wondering whether I would be around to see them bloom again - and I am! Glory be!

"If the future seems overwhelming, remember that it comes one moment at a time."
(Beth Mende Conny)