got the call


I did get the call from my preop people. I was logged onto Metro Health’s MyChart site and had discovered that I was scheduled to be there today at 2:15 PM for an inoculation of something to trace my lymph distribution below the surgery area. I was just writing a letter of complaint on the MyChart site when my nurse called. She was very helpful and I’m all set now to drive over this afternoon for my injection plus another blood draw for a final lab test for tomorrow. I decided not to complain at this point. Maybe later I’ll ask why I didn’t calls I was expecting. You don’t want to piss off the people who are part of cutting you up. At least that’s my opinion.

I’m planning to do prep for Wednesday’s rehearsal today. Eileen has volunteered to help. Stuff from this past weekend needs to be filed.  It’s not that much, but I need to have the opening and closing hymn redone in Large Print versions for my crew, then put them in their slots. Also the upcoming psalm for the following Sunday (Advent IV). Rev Jen and I are not meeting tomorrow. So all I have for Wednesday will be to give a piano lesson and do a rehearsal, both contingent on my ability to do so in post op recovery.

I believe if you go to this page you can listen to the program I was talking about yesterday, an interview with Robert Lustig.
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He discusses marketing which he defines as using truth to espouse your opinion versus propaganda which he defines as using misinformation to espouse your opinion. Then he combines this notion with the concept that when we hear something we agree with (true or not) we give ourselves a shot of pleasure inducing dopamine. I think he is saying we can then become addicted (physically) to this shot of dopamine so that we seek out stuff we agree with, consciously or not (confirmation bias).
Eileen and listened to some of a lecture of his on YouTube last night. Warning, it’s over an hour and half long and a bit technical in places, but excellent and informative so far.

Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson

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Again, I learned something from Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. Today is Emily Dickinson’s birthday. Keillor mentions that Dickinson’s entire family fell into public confessions of faith after a revival. Dickinson tried to do so as well but ended up failing. This colors some of her poetry a bit differently for me. I find in Dickinson a Shakespearean approach to language and thought that is very gratifying. Keillor reads a poem by her today, “This World is not Conclusion.”  I love the way this poem begins:

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond –
Invisible, as Music –
But positive, as Sound –
It beckons, and it baffles –
Incidentally  my Complete Poems changes the next line this way.
From “Philosophy, don’t know – ” to “Philosophy-don’t know”
I think the change from a comma to a dash (an Emily Dickinson dash!) changes the meaning. Maybe the subjects of the verb phrase “don’t know” are an implied “they” (Music, Sound) or even an implied “I.”

waiting for another phone call


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I did hear from Metro Health yesterday. After calling and leaving messages at various numbers I had basically given up hope. However, someone called to tell me that I was on their list to call and that I would get a call today with prep info and the time for my procedure.

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Now I’m waiting around for this call. I was going to blog after it came in but it’s already 3:30 PM and I’m beginning to wonder when they will get around to it. Might as well blog a bit.

Church went well today. I felt a little silly because  Johannes Müller-Stosch, the conductor of the Holland Symphony Orchestra was visiting.

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He is a gracious informed presence and also an organist church musician type guy in Long Beach. The reason I felt silly was this was an improvisation week end. I would have liked for him to hear repertoire on our lovely Pasi, but that’s the way it goes.

The choir nailed “Every Valley” by John Ness Beck. This is a piece that is popular with many choirs. it’s kind of poppy. My relationship to it has changed (as has my understanding of much music). I used to think it was too hokey. Now I just think of it is in the style of popular music. No biggie. I played piano. Playing piano and conducting is not something that I find easy to do. Better to play and conduct from the organ (something I have been trained to do). On the other hand I have been trying to get the choir to listen and sing with its own autonomy. I like ensembles that can do that. So I try to do the body language part of conducting but not too many cues. There’s no way that you can keep up a conducting pattern when you need both hands so much of the time to play the accompaniment adequately.

We almost had a train wreck this morning. I was glancing at the psalm in the bulletin during the first reading and noticed that the Gloria Patri had been included. This made sense because the psalm slot was filled by Canticle 16. But I hadn’t put the Gloria Patri in the choir’s version. So I hurriedly whispered to the choir to sing the canticle from the bulletin. They went with it and all was well. If I hadn’t noticed we would have led strongly until the Gloria Patri in which case the congregation most likely wouldn’t carry it without us. That would have been interesting.

I had many supportive comments this morning about my impending surgery. It is helpful to have so much support. It reminds me of a radio show I heard this morning which I will link here tomorrow since it won’t be available online until then.

The program is The People’s Pharmacy and the guest for this weekend’s show was Robert Lustig. I’ve never heard of him but I liked what he had to say.

Lustig is a professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of California. Basically he is a brain science guy who offers practical application of living in our crazy time. I will probably talk more about his work as I learn about it. But for now here’s the 4 Cs he presented on the radio show. As best as i can remember they are ways to resist the strong manipulations of our brains be consumers and addicts.

Here they are:

Connect (empathy)
Contribute (to something bigger than yourself and other people)
Cope (Sufficient sleep, mindfulness, and exercise)
Cook (the less processed foods in your diet the better)

I have put three books by him on hold at the local library.

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I’m especially interested in that last book, the cookbook.

He’s also all over YouTube and I’m planning to watch a few of his presentations. What I like about this guy is that he presents simple concepts clearly.

I thought of him just now because he is clear that “Connecting” is something you do in person to other people looking them in the eye and listening and responding. Weirdly it’s sort of the opposite of the “Connectivity” of social media.

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He also said that his four Cs are things you Mom told you. I liked that.

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Today is John Milton’s birthday. I learned that (like I do many things) by listening to Garrison Keillor’s Writes Almanac for the day. I was very surprised to learn that Milton coined a lot of words.

“According to Gavin Alexander, lecturer in English at Cambridge university and fellow of Milton’s alma mater, Christ’s College, who has trawled the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for evidence, Milton is responsible for introducing some 630 words to the English language, making him the country’s greatest neologist, ahead of Ben Jonson with 558, John Donne with 342 and Shakespeare with 229. Without the great poet there would be no liturgical, debauchery, besottedly, unhealthily, padlock, dismissive, terrific, embellishing, fragrance, didactic or love-lorn. And certainly no complacency.” link to source