Saturday, September 20, 2014

Maybe not you, but somebody asked for it


 So.  Every weekday morning at 8:45, I report to the Commonwealth Oncology Hematology Cancer Center at Newburyport Medical Center on the Anna Jacques Hospital campus. 

(Don't you love the clear blue skies of September?)








This is the patient waiting room.  Even though there is ample seating, there have never been more than three people waiting.  The radiation therapy machine can only take one person at a time; the X-ray diagnostic and measurement equipment can only take one person at a time, and Dr. Fung is the only full time oncologist.  So:  the possibility of 3 patients and possibly their friends or spouses.
Note the supply of coffee and snacks!

 There is also a puzzle-in-progress.  Amazing how concentrating on a jig-saw makes it easier NOT to think about cancer, fatigue or side effects.
Last week there was a 1000 piece puzzle, 30% done, that somebody decided was just too difficult.  He took it all apart, put it back in its box and got out a 500 piece puzzle with much bigger pieces.  How do you suppose the people felt who HAD been putting together the challenging one?!

I was inspired to buy a puzzle for home.  :-)



And here's the machine.  It clicks, whirs, buzzes, whines and rotates around me.
I hope you never have to see ones of these up close and personal. But it IS pretty fascinating.
 I don't know how many companies make "stereotactic radiation" equipment, but this one is by Elekta.  The company was founded in 1972 in Stockholm, Sweden.  No doubt the founder,  Lars Leksell was raised on lefse!  Their main US office is in Atlanta, AND they actually have a FB page!!?  Let's hear it for medical and scientific research and government and university funding for the same.  Thank you, Sweden, for making my treatment as helpful and pleasant as possible.

Of course at Newburyport, it is STILL the professionalism and personability of the staff that makes the biggest difference.  They are pretty camera shy, however.

This is "my" radiology oncologist, Clair Fung. She is one smart cookie!   My primary care doctor says the radiology oncologists were the really smart ones... has to do with extra detailed biology, physics and CALCULATIONS! Glad to hear it!

Claire Y. Fung MDThis is a photograph on one of the web sites that lists her. She was elected one of the "Best Doctors in America" for radiation oncology. In spite of her stellar credentials and subject specialties, she is warm, caring, and fun to be with (even under these circumstances).  I wonder if oncologists have the same "no personal relationships" with patients rules that psychotherapists do.  She'd be a wonderful friend.




Saturday, September 13, 2014

Last week at the Decordova

Red, Yellow Blue was the sculptural installation that intrigued me enough to drive the 45 miles to the DeCordova Sculpture Garden and Museum.
I am SO glad I went.  First of all, it was a gorgeous day; one of the first harbingers of Fall-- cool, clear, warm with just a hint of a breeze.


 Winner of the 2011 Rappaport Prize, Miss Genger hand crocheted more than a million yards of lobster rope, and then painted it, and then laid it out, folded and re-folded it to make an arresting arrangement in the garden.  (She had done so previously (with the same weavings, I presume) in New York's Madison Square Park.  The Madison Square installation consisted of over 1.4 million feet of rope—the total length equating to nearly 20 times the length of Manhattan—covered in over 3,500 gallons of paint, and weighing over an astounding 100,000 pounds. 

If you dial the numbers on the "label" you can her her talk about it.  DeCordova: 781 730 4683
extension 5248, 5258, 5268



 At one point she arranged it so that it looked like a spill in the grass.  I thought the particular red she chose was a perfect compliment to the lush grass.
The red switched somewhat abruptly to yellow part way up the DeCordova estate's hill.


 From the side, however, the transition made perfect sense!











As it crested the hill and veered down hill on the other side toward a local pond, the rope went from yellow to blue.
As I traipsed up and down the hills looking at the "crochet" work from various angles, I couldn't help but notice the echoing flow of  Lincoln, by DeWitt Godfrey.  It is a playful series of steel tubes which seemed to be progressing from the museum to the bottom of the hill. I wonder if Yale knew that was what he was learning when he was in attendance there.

 The blue went all the way down to Flints Pond passing a work named Cardinal Points by Alexander Liberman.

 Just like humans, art and sculptures look different depending on your viewpoint.


George Greenamyer made this Mass Art Vehicle  out of steel. It is on a pair of railroad like tracks that start from nowhere and go nowhere.  At the top of the hill is the museum building.  There are exhibits inside as well as a cafe. I skipped the interior exhibits this visit. I like the towers, though.  In spite of their windows being "too low," they make me think of Rapunzel.




 Julian deCordova, son of a Jamaican trader was a tea merchant and president of Union Glass of Somerville, MA.  Self educated and a world traveler, he remodeled his Lincoln home in the style of a "European castle."  I can see a definite Spanish (and possibly Moroccan, African or Middle Eastern) influence in the brick work on the southern elevation.



 Not only were the sculptures interesting and varied, but the shifting, wispy clouds in a deep cerulean sky were mesmerizing as well.
 For reasons I do not understand, this piece is called Time at the Museum.
It was done by  Robert Schelling.  He has a Facebook page!!  
but it's been a while since he updated it. 

This piece near the front entry, by Paul McCarthy, is titled  Sisters.  It is a social commentary on the Disney version of Snow White.
 This is part of a creation called 4-Wheeler Rollover.
I should have known it has ties to Texas.  A collaborative of sculptors and artists from Austin got together and conceived this low-brow intrusion into the high-brow gardens.  The tire tracks have ripped up the grass AND been filled in with red-clay colored concrete.
I am wondering if THIS is the building that was supposed to be a castle.  With all those shingles it doesn't seem very castle like, to me.  There are plenty of places for sleeping porches, however.

I took a picture of this because you don't get to see them at length very often.  It claims it is protected by multiple patents --- don't you wonder what the claims were?

Do you recognize it?

 I would like to have something like this in the back yard.  Then I could climb on it.  It is  Walking Flower Times the Power of Five by James Surls.He's from Texas and worked on pipelines, but switched to making art that 
explores the relation of nature and industry.















 Musical Fence by  Paul Matisse is a crowd pleaser, especially the many children who visit.  Made of pipes set in concrete, it is supplied with wooden mallets with which one can bang on the pipes.  That activity was apparently SO popular in the sculptures original location, that the neighbors complained... hence the relocation to the sculpture garden.
He is the grandson of Henri Matisse and stepson of Marcel Duchamps-- and went to Harvard.

 
Requiem for the 20th Century by








This girl's dad and baby brother were ready to leave the Musical Fence long before she was.  But she pulled herself away in time to avoid being scolded OR left behind.












There was an installation in a small gallery adjacent the museum store.  It is called Fruit of Our Labors and is evolving.  The artist,Tim de Christopher,  carves stone, seeks out found objects and combines them as he pleases.

I particularly enjoyed squinting at and reading the titles of the books he collected. Carpentry seemed relevant.  A History of Free Masonry, not so much.

Doesn't the broom look like it was left there by the cleaning crew?


And then there was the actual gift shop.  I love museum gift shops.  I really liked this screen printed cat card!
 


A snarky collection of magnets:                                        He put on his wild suit and departed in search of liquid refreshment and congenial entertainment.                  Snacking between meals is the least, but tastiest of my problems.                                                                        I'm worth two in the bush.                                                I'm addicted to shiny things.                                            The drinks came.  I wasn't about to be sobered by anything like regret.                                                                           I disembowel.  It's what I do.                                                She sighed -- close to tears.  Nothing could ruin one's enjoyment as much as an uncomfortable shoe .                 Oh.  Your an artist.
Dealing with you is like herding cats.

There were funny constructions made from metal "stuff."
And some fascinating ceramic pieces which incorporated horse-hair weaving and beads and knots.

 More cards!
Teenagers:  are you tired of being harassed by your stupid parents?  Act now.  Move Out, Get a Job and pay your own bills -- while you still know everything  John Hinde.

If you want to be happy for a short time, get drunk; happy for a long time, fall in love;  happy for ever, take up gardening.  Chinese saying

to win back my youth, there is nothing I wouldn't do -- except take exercise, get up early or be a useful member of the community.  Oscar Wilde

The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass.


Winnie the pie
How beautiful it is to do nothing and then to rest afterwards.  Spanish proverb.

When cooking, food licked of spoons has no calories.

Global defrosting.







 Cards made from cut outs.
See the sheep?
 A batch of cool cats and dogs.  And a series of very artistic cups and saucers.
 And a view through the trees of Flints Pond on the way home.  (Walden Pond is very near by, but will have to wait for another day.